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After several reports of African Swine Fever outbreaks in neighboring countries, with the latest cases reported in Chan State of Myanmar, Thai authorities have issued measures to prevent this animal disease from spreading into Thailand.
Government agencies have previously ordered a raining of the alert level at border areas to prevent the spread of the disease into the country, which will devastate the economy and pork farming industry. In Kanchanaburi province, which shares a border with Myanmar, all villages and sub-districts in Sangkhla Buri, Thong Pha Phum, Sai Yok, Muang Kanchanaburi and Dan Makham Tia districts have been declared disease surveillance areas where transportation of live pigs, boars or their carcasses is strictly prohibited. Violators are subject to fines and prison sentences.
The Department of Disease Control Director General Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai encouraged the general public to calm down and not to panic, saying that the African Swine Fever virus can spread among animals, but there has been no report of any transmission to humans.
He said the villagers should however inform the Department of Livestock Development or related government agencies of any unusual death of a pig, and to refrain from touching or butchering such animals for food to prevent contracting diseases such as Streptococcus suis infection, which can cause initial symptoms such as fever, before the bacteria enters the nervous system which may lead to permanent hearing damage and damage to other organs.
The general public are advised to purchase pork from trustworthy stores, refrain from eating discolored or pork which has a strong odour, and always cook the pork well.
“Firstly, it is absolutely not okay to butcher or consume animals dying of unknown causes as we can contract some diseases by doing so. Secondly, when consuming meat, the meat should come from safe and trustworthy sources. The Department of Livestock Development has been promoting safe animal products, and consumers can inspect the label or inquire with local government agencies in all provinces to ascertain the quality. Thirdly, the best prevention comes when we eat warm, well-cooked and clean meat. When cooking, we must be cautious of our contact with raw meat, ensuring that we don’t have any open cuts, and follow hygienic practices. When consuming, cook the meat well and eat it when it’s warm. That’s how we can reduce transmission risks.”