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First ASF cases discovered in Malaysia

The first African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks have been reported from Malaysia. Roughly 3,000 pigs will have to be culled.

The archipelago reported 5 outbreaks in the north of the East Malaysia, the part of the country that is located on the island Borneo, which it shares with Brunei and Indonesia.

It is the 1st time ASF is reported from Malaysia. - Illustration: Shutterstock
It is the 1st time ASF is reported from Malaysia. - Illustration: Shutterstock

3 Different districts in Eastern Malaysia infected

The outbreaks were reported in 3 different districts in Sabah, the northern part of East Malaysia.

  • In Pitas district, part of Kudat division, the village Kampong Ompungoi reported 212 infected backyard pigs. This was the largest outbreak of the 5. It took place on February 8.
  • The adjacent district Kota Marudu, also part of Kudat division, reported 2 infected villages. Kampong Patani found 78 backyard pigs infected on February 8; Kampong Radu Laut had another 7 casualties on February 10.
  • An additional 2 outbreaks were reported from the adjacent Beluran district, located in Sandakan division. In the village Kampong Kaboton 6 backyard pigs were found infected on February 11; another village called Hutan Simpan, 5 wild boar had been infected on February 8.

ASF surveillance stepped up in the whole country

According to a report by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the Pitas case was the first in which presence of the ASF virus could be confirmed by laboratory testing, after which surveillance was stepped up in a 50 km radius around the index case. When it was also found in wild boar in the Beluran district, the surveillance was stepped up in the entire country.

News outlet Bloomberg reported that roughly 3,000 pigs will have to be culled. Deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan said necessary action is being taken: "This includes the culling of pigs in the affected areas, controlling the movement of pigs and the selling of pork products originating from the affected areas."

With the outbreak, Malaysia follows a range of other Asian countries where ASF has also been confirmed, including China, North Korea, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, India, East Timor. In addition, a few islands off the coast of Taiwan reported infected pigs washing ashore.