Speaking at a press conference held at Phuket International Airport, V/Gov Thanyawat admitted that an outbreak of the swine disease – which cannot infect humans or any other species of animal, but is fatal in pigs – occurring in Thailand was a high risk following uncontrollable outbreaks of African Swine Fever in China, followed by Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
In China and Vietnam, authorities have fought the spread of the disease, which has devastated economies elsewhere in the world, by culling millions of pigs.
Thailand banned the import of live pigs and carcasses from Laos for 90 days starting June 22 in an effort to prevent the disease from spreading into Thailand.
“The fever is exclusively harmful to pigs of all age groups, and there is no vaccine or medicine for the fever yet. If the outbreak occur, it will badly be followed by economical, social, foods issued trust problems,” V/Gov Thanyawat said.
“The Phuket DLD has cooperated with relevant officials to keep alert about the fever, which has not been found in Phuket so far,” he added.
Through combined efforts by officers from the Phuket DLD’s Animal Quarantine Station and Thai Customs at Phuket International Airport, officers made 27 forced inspections, resulting in 142kg of products, including livestock products, being seized, V/Gov Thanyawat noted.
“Sixty-nine samples were examined by officials, and only three times had the African Swine Fever virus been found,” he said.
“The first two times were on Dec, 18 2018 and Jan 17 2019, arriving via a China Eastern Airline flight from Chengdu, China. The viruses were found in sausages and salami,
“The third time, on Feb 22, 2019, the virus was found in sausages arriving on a Thai Airways flight from Beijing, China,” he said.
All the infected products had already been properly destroyed, V/ Gov Thanyawat assured.
“A ‘war room’ has been set up so that officers can draw up preventive strategies. Officers from DLD will inspect pig farms and any abattoirs and meat cold storage units,” he added.
“The Phuket DLD will also set up a team to educate farmers about the fever and how to prevent an outbreak, and what to do if an outbreak occurs,” V/ Gov Thanyawat said.