African Swine Fever Confirmed in Myanmar Pig Deaths

By Nyein Nyein 14 August 2019

CHIANG MAI—Cells of the African swine fever (ASF) virus have been found in deceased pigs suspected earlier this month of carrying the disease in Mong La Special Region 4, in the Keng Tong District of Shan State, in eastern Myanmar.

Dr. Tun Lwin, assistant secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, confirmed to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that serum samples taken from the pigs tested positive for the virus.

He said, “The AFS virus had been found in samples gathered from Wan Nwe Village, in the Pong San Village tract, in Mong La,” following the death of 12 pigs there between Aug. 1 and Aug. 6.

Officials from the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD),went into the Wa and Mong La self-administrated areas, known as Special Regions 2 and 4, for four days last week to collect samples that were then tested at veterinary diagnostic labs in Yangon and Mandalay.

On Aug. 2 the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), which controls the area, announced concerns after some 500 pigs had died there.

As of last week, NDAA authorities had culled more than 2,000 pigs in the region’s Silu and Maing Ma regions.

The ministry also issued a warning to the public at the time, urging resident to follow contagious disease control procedures and to immediately inform authorities of any unexpected deaths of wild or domestic pigs.

The ministry said it had informed the World Organization for Animal Health about the case in Mong La and said that it was cooperating with local administrative bodies.

The ASF virus is not transmittable to people but is the deadly to pigs. There is currently no known cure or vaccine.

The ministry urged people to cull pigs as soon as the infection was confirmed, told them not to trade or consume any food derived from pigs and not to toss dead pigs into water ways.

On Aug. 5, images of dead pigs floating in streams in Shan State’s Tachileik Township caught widespread public attention. An estimated 2,000 pigs have died between there and nearby Monghpyak Township in the last month.

Samples from Tachiliek are still being tested to determine if the pigs there died AFS or porcine circovirus type 2.

LBVD also reached out to authorities in Wa Sate following reports of pig deaths there. United Wa State Army Liaison Officer U Nyi Rang said things are under control there.

Officials in Wa State, which is close to the China-Myanmar border, have banned the trade of any pig-related products, he said.

“Since we’ve taken preventative measures over the last two or three months, we have not had many losses, and we’ve been able to control the spread of the disease,” he told The Irrawaddy.

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