The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced that tests for suspected cases of African swine flu (ASF) have proven inconclusive.

Ministry spokeswoman Im Rachna said on January 16 that the January 13 samples – taken from pigs which died in Svay Rieng province’s Kampong Ro district – were too old to be accurate.

“We took the samples from dead animals which had been ill for a long time. Because any virus the pigs may have had likely mutated on several occasions, it was very difficult to produce accurate results,” she explained.

She added that through the testing, officials were attempting to identify three types of disease: swine fever, African swine fever and blue ear disease. The symptoms of all three are similar: before the pigs died, they had a high fever and their skin turned purple.

Rachna assured the public that the situation is now under control, as specialists from the ministry have conducted extensive education and disinfection campaigns in the location where the animals fell ill and died. The deceased animals were burned.

She added that officials from the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production are continuing to monitor the remaining pigs in Kampong Ro, as well as the surrounding districts.

On behalf of the ministry, she called on all pig farmers to notify the authorities immediately if they suspected an illness among their animals. She assured farmers that the authorities would respond immediately to any cases, in order to ensure that potential outbreaks were halted as early as possible.

She also warned against the sale of pigs that are ill or deceased due to sickness, as this could pose a serious risk to human health.

Pen Chanthy, head of the provincial agriculture and veterinary bureau in Svay Rieng province, told The Post that as of January 16, no further pigs had died. 

Specialists went to the scene on January 15, and identified illness in seven locations. Forty-seven pigs had died. 

He explained that the entire location had been disinfected, and residents were no longer reporting any illness or deaths.

“The village and commune chiefs have informed me that the pigs are no longer ill or dying. The animals which were ill have made a complete recovery. Naturally, we will continue to monitor the situation,” he added.