An outbreak of African Swine Fever has swept through seven provinces in northern Laos, while authorities have urged the public not to panic.
According to a report by Vientiane Mai, African Swine Fever (ASF) began spreading in Xienghone District, Xayaboury Province in June this year.
The disease is spreading quickly across 15 districts in seven provinces, including Xayaboury, Oudomxay, Houaphan, Bokeo, Phongsaly, Luang Namtha and Luang Prabang.
According to a statement on Friday by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Mr. Bounkhouang Khambounhueng, 2,198 pigs have died from June to October, with a further 2,147 animals euthanized by authorities.
“The outbreak began among a small group of farms using natural farming methods withlow biosecurity systems”, said Mr. Bounkhouang.
“Consumers should know that they can continue to safely consume pork provided it is well cooked. I urge everyone not to panic,” he added.
African swine fever is not known to transmit across species, meaning the disease is fatal to pigs but does not harm human beings.
Prevention measures against the disease include the culling of affected animals and cleaning and disinfection. Tracing possible contact farms, and quarantine and preventative culling, together with transport bans on live pigs and pork products is also required.
Laos reported its first case of African Swine Fever in May to November last year, confirming outbreaks in 170 villages, 57 District in 18 provinces across the country, leading to the deaths of 10,576 pigs, and culling of 4,689 pigs.