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State urges vigilance on banned pig imports

THE Ministry of Agriculture yesterday called on border authorities and low-level officials to remain vigilant in preventing the importation of potentially diseased pigs from Thailand and Vietnam.

Kao Phal, head of the Agriculture Ministry’s Department of Animal Health, said that despite a ban imposed last week on pig imports from Thailand and Vietnam, villagers have continued to illegally transport pigs across the border on motorbikes.

He warned that placing imported pigs in pens with local pigs could lead to the spread of porcine reproductive respiratory syndrome, commonly called blue ear.

“People must be responsible for their own actions,” he said.

He also advised farmers to notify veterinarians if they noticed any suspicious symptoms among their pigs or individuals exposed to the
animals.

Ly Sovann, deputy director of communicable disease control at the Ministry of Health, said Tuesday that the ministry had deployed more than 1,200 health officials across the country to help monitor the spread of the disease in the event of human infection.

“So far, we have no reports of the spread of blue-ear disease from pigs to humans, but we have ordered our officials to be cautious in monitoring the issue,” he said.

But Dr Lotfi Allal, a representative of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation, said yesterday that blue-ear disease could not be contracted by humans.

Regardless, he said, people still “should not eat meat from affected animals”.

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