African swine fever is creeping closer to Australia, as the World Organization for Animal Health confirmed Friday 100 reported outbreaks of ASF in Timor-Leste. An island country located approximately 400 miles north of Australia, Timor-Leste is the 10th Asian nation to report an ASF outbreak.
According to Da Costa Jong Joanita Bendita, national director of Veterinary Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the outbreaks occured in small holder pig farms in the Dili Municipality. The first outbreak occurred on Sept. 9; since then 405 pigs have died. The total number of pigs in small holder farms in the Dili Municipality is estimated to be 44,000 pigs based on 2015 census data.
On Friday, the Timor-Leste Council of Ministers released the following statement.
“The Acting Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Fidelis Leite Magalhães, gave a presentation to the Council of Ministers on the disease that has caused the deaths of hundreds of pigs in the country. Samples were taken from these animals and sent for laboratory analysis in Australia confirming that these animals suffer from African swine fever. This disease is highly contagious among animals, not producing effects on humans and has affected several Asian countries. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, in collaboration with the government of Australia, has taken all necessary measures to limit the effects of this outbreak, for which there is still no remedy, cure or vaccine.”