African Swine Fever issue in Sarawak not alarming, says Dzulkefly

Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus in Sarawak has yet to reach an alarming stage, and there is no need for the people to panic. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus in Sarawak has yet to reach an alarming stage, and there is no need for the people to panic. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

LABUAN, Nov 4 — The African Swine Fever (ASF) virus in Sarawak has yet to reach an alarming stage, and there is no need for the people to panic, said Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad.

“There is nothing to fear about the spread of African Swine Fever virus, as it is zoonotic which means it does not infect humans,” he said at a press conference after the Bebuloh Health Clinic project ground breaking ceremony at Kg Bebuloh here today.

He said his ministry is working closely with the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) to address the possible spread of the virus.

“It is well under control and we are working together with the department concerned to contain the virus,” he said.

The Health Ministry will be conduct sampling on pork-based products to ensure that they are not contaminated by ASF virus.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today said the sampling was to verify the effectiveness of the retort process, a food processing method.

The ministry, through its Food Safety and Quality Division, was also working together with DVSS to monitor the situation.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Veterinary Services Department had advised consumers to refrain from buying pork-based products and urged farmers to stop the practice of swill feeding to prevent the risk of ASF.

Sarawak has enforced a temporary ban on pork and pork-based products imported from countries affected by African Swine Fever (ASF), including China.

DVSS in a statement on Oct 27 said it had conducted tests on 17 canned luncheon pork imported from China for African Swine Fever Virus and the DNA of ASF virus was detected in one of the samples.

The detected virus DNA was confirmed by the department’s Veterinary Public Health laboratories in a test using Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (q-PCR), on Oct 25.

The department also confirmed so far, there was no ASF infection in pigs reported in Sarawak and the detection of the virus does not change Sarawak’s ASF-free status. — Bernama

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