Thailand culls 200 pigs in fear of African swine fever hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: Straits Time)

Bangkok (VNA)
- Thailand has culled more than 200 pigs this week, authorities said on August 18, in the first such action amid heightened fears of a potential outbreak of African swine fever.

Thailand has yet to report any outbreaks of African swine fever among its pigs, though neighboring Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia have all confirmed cases of the deadly disease.

Thailand’s department of livestock said the culling of the pigs was a preventative action after two pigs died mysteriously in the northern province of Chiang Rai, about 20 km from Myanmar.

The culled pigs were within a 1 km radius of the pigs that had fallen ill and died.

The department said blood and tissue samples of the first pigs were sent on September 16 to a lab in Lampang province to see whether they had contracted African swine fever. Lab results could take about 14 days.

Thailand has been on high alert since neighboring countries reported outbreaks and has banned imports of pig and pork products from Laos and Myanmar.

African swine fever was first detected in Asia last August in China, wiping out nearly 40 percent of pigs in the world’s largest pork producer. It has since spread across Asia, affecting Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines.

The Republic of Korea (RoK) was the latest country affected by the virus, confirming two cases this week.

The disease does not affect humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs and wild boars that is almost always fatal. There is currently no antidote or vaccine, with the only known preventative measure being a mass cull of infected livestock. The disease spreads by contact between infected pigs or other wild animals and can inflict massive economic damage on farms./.