DLD Chief Manas Thepparuk told The Phuket News today (May 30), “The current situation regarding the virus is not a cause for concern. The DLD has not been notified of an outbreak in Phuket or in Thailand.
“DLD in Phuket has preventive measures in place for African swine fever. On April 2, we had a meeting with relevant business owners such as pig farm owners, importers of pork, and freezing room operators to provide knowledge about the virus.
“We are actively monitoring the situation to prevent an outbreak. The Phuket Animal Detention Office together with Phuket International Airport perform strict inspections of passengers who travel in from abroad to stop illegal imports of pork.
“Throughout Thailand, there are also strict inspections at the borders and quarantine checkpoints. In late June, I will be carrying out random inspections at Phuket International Airport myself.
“I believe the measures we have in place will surely prevent an outbreak in Phuket and also throughout Thailand,” Mr Manas explained.
Phuket Vice Governor Thanyawat Chanpinit first had a meeting about the virus with DLD officials, related agencies and relevant business owners on May 8 at Phuket Provincial Hall.
At the meeting, V/Gov Thanyawat said, “Although there has not been an outbreak of African swine fever in Phuket, preparations must be made in case an outbreak does occur. Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana ordered the appointment of a working group to prepare for and manage the situation in the event of an outbreak.
“I urge all relevant business operators to monitor the situation carefully, V/Gov Thanyawat stressed. If you believe that your pigs are suffering from depression, high fever or rashes, please immediately inform the DLD.”
In January this year, a Chinese tourist was caught at Phuket International Airport bringing sausages into the country that were carrying the virus. The incident spurred a vast inspection of local pig farms as far afield as Krabi. (See story here.)
In neighbouring Vietnam, where the virus has spread throughout the country to 42 provinces, more than 1.7 million pigs have been culled – about 5% of the nation’s pig population – which has had a massive impact on the industry. The country’s Ministry of Agriculture is directing local governments to help farmers of infected pigs to find new livelihoods.