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Indonesia Confirms African Swine Fever Outbreak

25.02.2020 20:43 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Following are selected highlights from a report issued by a U.S.Department of Agriculture attache in The Jakarta (Indonesia), on December 12, 2019, Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo issued a Ministerial Decree declaring an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in North Sumatera Province. The decree was followed by a notification from the Director General of Livestock and Animal Health Service and Indonesias Chief Veterinary Officer to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on December 17, 2019.

As of February 6, 2020, Indonesia had reported 857 outbreaks, in 18 of 33 districts of North Sumatera Province, resulting in about 42,000 dead hogs. The initial source of the outbreaks is unknown. The ASF outbreak began in Dairi District and spread to 17 other districts, including Medan, the capital of the province. Indonesias animal health authorities estimated the outbreak onset was September 4, 2019. The North Sumatera Provincial Food Security and Livestock Services Office website indicated that the effort to mitigate the outbreak began not long after the outbreak onset. The control measures applied include movement control, surveillance, quarantine, proper disposal, zoning, and disinfection.

The mortality rate of the ASF is nearly 100 percent, which presented a challenge for farmers in disposing of hog carcasses properly. Due to a lack of heavy equipment and proper handling instructions at the outset of the outbreak, farmers often disposed of carcasses by throwing remains into nearby rivers. The practice raised public health concerns as many locals use the rivers as their main water source, and because this may ultimately increase the spread of the virus to the local wild hog population.

To date, the Government of Indonesia has allocated $360,000 to fund ASF outbreak mitigation activities, including assistance for farmers in preparing mass burial sites and the removal of carcasses from waterways. The Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Service (DGLAHS) has assembled a team to develop an ASF recombinant vaccine. The Indonesian Center for Veterinary Biologics (Pusvetma), the Ministry of Agriculture owned veterinary biologics manufacturer in Surabaya, is leading this effort. Currently, the team is in the process of finding the most suitable antigen protein that can induce good immunogenic response against ASF virus strain circulating in Indonesia.

Although North Sumatera is the only province to officially report an ASF outbreak, concerns remain high that the virus may have already spread to other regions. East Nusa Tenggara Province (NTT), located next to Timor Leste, which declared an ASF outbreak before Indonesia on September 27, 2019, is on heightened alert. An ASF outbreak would likely hamper the provinces recorded 38,2901 tons of annual pork production, worth $168 million and its plan to become Indonesias hog production center. The President of the Indonesian Monogastric Association (AMI) has explained that the actual pork production of NTT Province may be higher than the recorded number mention above, due to the nature of its traditionally free-roaming hog farming and unrecorded slaughter. Local authorities in Java have established traffic control measures to prevent hogs from entering the island of Java. Nonetheless, reportedly several hogs testing positive for ASF in Bogor district of West Java Province and significant hog deaths from «unknown causes» have been reported in nine districts of Bali Province.

A Muslim majority country, Indonesias hog population is relatively small compared with neighboring Vietnam and the Philippines. However, the economic impact on provinces with high Christian and Hindu populations may be significant. Indonesia has twelve provinces with hog populations above 100,000. Total hog population in these provinces is 8,106,448 heads, comprising approximately 91 percent of the total hog population. North Sumatera Provinces 1,274,904 head ranks second only to NTT. The President of AMI has noted North Sumatera Provinces hog farming industry generates $732 million in annual turnover from its combined hog and feed production. AMI estimates the outbreak could reach between 30–50 percent of hogs and calculates that the annual economic loss for the Province may reach as high as $264 million. Sixty percent of North Sumateras pork goes to other Sumatera provinces, increasing other provinces hog farmers concerns that the pork traffic may facilitate the spread of ASF. Prior to the outbreak, North Sumatera Province exported 20 percent of its pork to DKI Jakarta Province on Java, but now with traffic control measures in place, food processors are seeking sources from other islands, including Bali Province. Bali, a Hindu majority region with over 10,000 hog farmers, could face the greatest impact should ASF spread. A major tourist destination, Bali is known for several pork dishes, the leftovers of 1 Ministry of Agricultures Livestock and Animal Health Statistics 2019 data Indonesian Hog Population Rank Provinces Population (head) 1 Eastern Nusa Tenggara 2,432,501 2 North Sumatera 1,274,904 3 Bali 850,870 4 South Sulawesi 795,959 5 Papua 728,213 6 West Kalimantan 489,342 7 North Sulawesi 427,777 8 Riau Islands 373,248 9 Central Sulawesi 265,719 10 Central Kalimantan 208,572 11 West Sulawesi 137,106 12 Central Java 122,237 13 Other 22 provinces combined 816,206 Total 8,922,654 Source: Livestock and Animal Health Statistics 2019 which often make their way to hog farms. Local authorities have banned farmers from using leftovers from restaurants, hotels, or airplanes to prevent spreading the virus. Disinformation on the nature of the ASF and its impact on human health has decreased pork consumption in North Sumatera by 80 percent. Although not a major exporter of pork, several countries including Malaysia, China, and Taiwan, have banned imports from Indonesia (Indonesia was already ineligible to export pork to the United States due to its status for other diseases such as classical swine fever). Singapore, the largest market for Indonesian hogs, has maintained its import of 6,400 head of live hogs per week from a farm in Bulan Island in Riau Islands Province. The farm, which takes up the whole island, can meet Singapores food safety and animal health standard and requirements. Singapore accredited the farm in 1987 for export of live hogs based on its biosecurity measures and animal health status.

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