The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the recent series of dead pigs could not definitively be attributed to African swine fever (ASF), noting that expert officials had taken samples for testing in Phnom Penh.

On January 15, ministry spokeswoman Im Rachna said the dead pigs were reported in Svay Rieng province’s Kampong Ro district, prompting the ministry’s general directorate of animal health and production to inspect the site in collaboration with local authorities.

“We have not been able to conclusively determine that the deaths of the pigs were caused by ASF. However, an expert team has disinfected the area and taken samples of the dead pigs for analysis to ascertain the root cause,” she said.

“If the results confirm ASF, the dead pigs will be disposed of to prevent the disease from spreading to other areas. As of now, the issue of dead pigs has been confined to Kampong Ro and has not spread to other districts,” Rachna added.

Pen Chanthy, head of the provincial animal health and production bureau, said that upon inspection by expert officials, it was found that seven families in the area were raising a total of 130 pigs. Out of these, 47 had died and some were showing signs of illness.

He noted that officials had collected samples from the pigs for testing in a laboratory, while the animal health team had been educating the local population on disinfection procedures and measures to prevent the disease from spreading to other animals in the district.

“We have been disseminating information about safety measures and providing medicine to each household. We are cautious about entering their homes due to the risk of communicable disease. We are now awaiting the results from the laboratory,” he said.

According to Chanthy, the deceased pigs included both sows and their piglets. The locals were advised against consuming or selling the dead animals.

The country had previously experienced an outbreak of ASF in Ponlai commune of Takeo province’s Angkor Borei district in 2021, resulting in the death of a large number of pigs. 

In response, authorities disinfected the area and hundreds of surviving pigs were culled, after which a ban was imposed on the import of pigs from other countries to prevent the spread of the infection within the Kingdom, as per the ministry.