African Swine Fever has reached Papua New Guinea, the first country to be hit that is officially part of the geographic region Oceania.
The outbreak in Papua New Guinea was made known through a declaration the National Gazette, dated March 28. The country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock also shared the news on its Facebook channel and the World Organization for Animal Health has also formally confirmed the outbreak.
ASF virus in centre of PNG
According to the messages, the virus was found in ‘free ranging pigs’ in the villages Tubiri, Tente, Was and Pulum in the Southern Highlands province, in the heart of the peninsula. For that reason, the minister for agriculture and livestock declared that province, as well as the adjacent Enga and Hela provinces as disease area.
The statement on Facebook read that the virus was first suspected late 2019 already, with pigs dying in Mendi. According to the statement, the deaths occurred in Nipa, Mendi Munihu and Mendi Central over a period of 4 months (November-February). Tests in Australia confirmed the presence of the virus. According to the OIE report, 700 pigs were at risk, of which 500 were found to be carrying the virus and 396 had already died.
In the declaration, the minister announced a prohibition of the movement of pig and pig products in and out of the declared disease areas.
No information as to how ASF came in
The sources did not mention how the disease got into the country. It is located on the New Guinea island, which is split into 2 zones, of which the independent country Papua New Guinea is located in the east.
The west part is known as Western New Guinea and forms part of Indonesia. It is known that various islands in the Indonesian archipelago have been infected with ASF, including Sumatra, Bali and East Nusa Tenggara (bordering to East Timor). Outbreaks in Western New Guinea, however, have not been reported so far.