Swine fever death toll reaches 30,000 in North Sumatra

The spread of African swine fever (ASF) continues across much of Asia, reports Pork Checkoff. The minister of agriculture for Indonesia confirmed the country’s first outbreak of ASF in its North Sumatra province (far northwest part of multi-island nation) on 12 December. The official announcement is not unexpected since reports of increased pig mortality have come from this province and others since late September. Even though the majority of Indonesians practice Islam, more than 80 percent of the people living on the tourist island of Bali identify as Hindu and consume pork. 

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is coordinating with Indonesia’s directorate general of Livestock and Animal Health Services. The nation’s animal health director requested that the FAO provide recommendations on containment and control of the virus, which the organisation is doing. 

Speaking to Reuters, 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.

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 biosecurity 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.