Death of pet pig triggers investigation into African swine fever in Thailand

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BANGKOK, Jan.8 (Reuters) – Thai animal husbandry authorities have vowed to investigate the death of a pet pig after a university lab test indicated he died of African swine fever , the first such report in the country.

Thailand has insisted for years that its herds of pigs have not been affected by African swine fever, which has swept across Europe and Asia in recent years and killed hundreds of millions of pigs, in especially in China, even as its neighbors in Southeast Asia reported epidemics. Read more

A miniature pet pig in Bangkok was found to have died of the disease after being brought in by its owner for a lab test which was carried out at Kasetsart University in early December, said Nattavut Ratanavanichrojn, associate dean at the Faculty. veterinary medicine from the university in Nakhon Pathom Province, west of Bangkok.

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“African swine fever was discovered in Thailand, because we found it,” Nattavut told Reuters on Friday evening, adding that the university last month sent the result of the pig autopsy to the Thai Department of development of animal husbandry.

He added that the owner had two other miniature pigs in the same household who also died later.

The university’s discovery follows growing speculation that an African swine fever outbreak is already wiping out Thai pig herds, with pork prices rising due to declining pig supplies this year.

Authorities in Thailand have repeatedly denied an outbreak of African swine fever and previously attributed most farm pig deaths to another viral disease called porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).

Chaiwat Yothakol, deputy director general of the Department of Livestock Development, said Friday evening that “the department will investigate whether the pig was really infected with the disease.”

“So far we haven’t found the disease here,” he said.

African swine fever is harmless to humans but fatal to pigs, and there is no vaccine to protect against the virus.

Thailand has suspended exports of live pigs from Thursday until April 5 to consolidate domestic supplies. Authorities have estimated that Thailand will only have 13 million pigs this year, less than the 19 million it usually produces. Read more

Farm pork prices in Thailand were quoted at around 105 baht ($ 3.12) per kg last week, up 30% from prices for the same period a year ago, according to data from the Swine Raisers Association of Thailand.

Pork prices in Bangkok were observed this week at around 182.50 baht per kg, almost 29% higher than in January 2021, according to data from the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

($ 1 = 33.6100 baht)

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Additional reporting and writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Edited by Christian Schmollinger

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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