African swine fever kills 30,000 pigs in Indonesia's North Sumatra

African swine fever kills 30,000 pigs in Indonesia's North Sumatra

The African swine fever epidemic has wiped out about 40 percent of China's pig herd, sending
The African swine fever epidemic has wiped out about 40 per cent of China's pig herd, sending the price of pork soaring. (Photo: AFP/Nikolay Doychinov)  

JAKARTA: Nearly 30,000 pigs have died from African swine fever (ASF) in Indonesia's North Sumatra province as of Dec. 15, causing millions of dollars of economic losses as authorities try to quarantine the areas affected, officials said on Wednesday.

The agriculture ministry has declared an outbreak of the highly contagious virus in the country and said it is contained only in some parts of North Sumatra, minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo told reporters.

READ: Quarter of world's pigs expected to die from African swine fever, says animal health organisation

READ: Is African swine fever contagious? What you need to know about the disease sweeping across Asia

"Very serious handling is being carried out, including isolating those areas," Limpo said.

Fadjar Sumping Tjatur Rassa, director of animal health at the Agriculture Ministry, said that ASF has been found in 16 areas in North Sumatra, including the provincial capital Medan, and that authorities were trying to make sure the virus was not being transported out.

African swine fever kills 30,000 pigs in Indonesia's North Sumatra
(Graphic: AFP)

Meat and meat products are not allowed to leave the 16 areas affected, and people who have been in contact with infected animals must go through bio-security screening, he said.

"Trade traffic (for pork and its products) are temporarily closed for the infected areas," Rassa said, adding that North Sumatra has a pig population of 1.2 million.

READ: Despite culls, import bans, swine fever to hit pork market for years

READ: Chinese inflation hits eight-year high as pork prices double

East Timor, which shares an island with Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province at the far eastern end of the country, reported numerous outbreaks of ASF in September that killed 405 backyard pigs.

ASF has also decimated China's pig herd since the first outbreaks were discovered last year, triggering a surge in Chinese pork imports and a rise in prices there.

Source: Reuters/ic

Bookmark