African Swine fever in PNG

The African Swine Fever which affects and kills pigs in large numbers has been found in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province.

Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, John Simon revealed this in a press conference on Saturday.

Minister said it is not a health threat to humans if they come in contact with pigs, but it will greatly affect those who raise pigs as a source of income and food.

The African swine fever virus causes a hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in domestic pigs; it causes the death of animals as quickly as a week after infection.

“The African swine fever is a virus that causes a hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in domestic pigs; some isolates can cause death of animals as quickly as a week after infection.

“This disease will only infect and affect pigs, but is a threat economical wise as well.”

Minister Simon reiterated that the Department is also concerned that the spread of this viral disease may affect neighboring provinces; hence has signed a gazette declaring Southern Highlands, Enga and Hela Provinces to be 'Disease areas'.

This declaration will allow a delimiting exercise to ensure that the Fever is contained and not spread through to other neighboring areas.

"It is better to contain this fever at this stage - it may become another economic burden and considering what situation we are in at the moment, PNG just cannot afford it", the Minister said.

Minister Simon also noted that while another disease called 'Heart Worm' which affects dogs, has been existing in East Sepik province, and recently confirmed after tests were carried out.

Corn and Rice crops are also at a great risk of being destroyed if there are no containment exercises carried out.

This was also stated following a survey that was carried out which identified that the 'Fall Armyworm' is now in Daru Island, Western Province.

The Fall armyworm larvae is known to feed on more than 350 plant species, and they have caused significant economic losses in some countries.

A team from NAQIA is already on ground and will carry out this exercise immediately.

Author: 
Freddy Mou
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