Livestock officials ordered farmers in a district of Chiang Mai to not move their pigs off farms. This measure in the Doi Saket district is meant to prevent the possible spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).
The order comes after a pig in the district died on November 21. Livestock officials visited the farm to test another pig that was sick and detected DNA of the ASF virus by real-time PCR.
The officials ordered for the pig’s carcass to be properly disposed of and for the farm to be thoroughly disinfected. They then ordered all pig farms within a 5-kilometre radius of the farm in question not to move their pigs off the farms until further notice.
Another farmer also alerted the Chiang Mai Livestock Office earlier this month that a few of his pigs had died. The farmer said the pigs had shown symptoms similar to those of ASF.
Blood tests did not detect ASF, but livestock officials said the viral load may have been too small to be detected.
Yet another pig in the Doi Saket also became ill and died on November 11. The farmer, however, refused to let officials test his pigs.
This is not the first time ASF has been found in Thailand’s pigs. Back in January, it was reported that ASF had been spreading across Thailand. The country’s agriculture minister said the disease had infected pig farms and one slaughterhouse in 13 Thai provinces in Central, Northeastern, and Southern Thailand.
As with the more recent case, the infected farms and the 5-kilometre radius around them were declared epidemic zones.
In the past, ASF outbreaks have caused Thailand’s pork prices to surge, due to the shortage of pigs. In January, livestock officials said that before an outbreak, there had been an estimated 1.1 million breeding pigs in the market. That number had dropped to around 660,000. The officials said the situation would take 8 to 12 months to solve because local piglets have to be at least six months old before they can be slaughtered.
With the latest detection of ASF in Chiang Mai, who knows what the future holds for Thailand’s pig farmers?