Reuters reports that the disease was detected in at least 300 pigs in three districts - Pitas, Kota Marudu and Beluran - after a reported case involving the death of a wild boar last month, according to a World Organisation for Animal Health alert issued on Friday. This was the first discovery of the disease in Malaysia, the alert said.
22 pigs have already been culled in efforts to curb the outbreak, said Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Jeffrey Kitingan in a statement on Sunday.
"It is estimated that there are about 2,000 pigs in Pitas and about a thousand wild bearded pigs within a radius of 50 km (31 miles). All these animals will have to be culled," said Kitingan, who is also the agriculture and fisheries minister.
African swine fever, which is deadly to pigs but harmless to humans, poses a threat to food stocks.
China, the world's biggest pork producer, reported new variants of African swine fever last week, natural mutations in the virus that ravaged China's pig herd during 2018 and 2019 and which continues to kill hogs.