PALEMBANG, KOMPAS.com – Around 878 pigs suffered from sudden death in the Indonesian town of Palembang in South Sumatera.
Veterinarians discovered the phenomenon just as Indonesia braces for a new strain of African Swine Fever that has sparked concerns worldwide over its pandemic potential.
Palembang’s pig deaths were an accumulated total over the past two months.
Read also: Indonesian Health Ministry on Alert for New Swine Flu Strain
The chairman of Veterinarians in Indonesia Association’s South Sumatera branch, Jafrizal, was only notified of the 878 pig deaths on July 2.
The association first raised their suspicions after noticing an increase in the supply of tofu waste, a common feed for pigs.
What followed was further research on the number of pigs in selected areas including Talang Buruk, Alang-Alang Lebar Regency, Talang Keramat, Sei Hitam, Ilir Barat Satu Regency, Palembang, and Talang Kelapa Regency in Banyuasin.
Read also: Indonesia Starts Development of Food Estate Program in Central Kalimantan
“Farmers did not report this to us, that there were hundreds of pigs that died,” said Jafrizal.
The association took feces and blood samples whereas the dead pigs have all been buried by farmers.
“Lampung’s Veterinary Hall is still looking into the phenomenon. However, there is a strong suspicion that it is swine flu. The report may have stated 878 pigs, but it is likely that the figure is in the thousands,” said Jafrizal.
According to Jafrizal, for now, the African Swine Flu virus can only be transmitted among animals.
Thus, farmers have emptied their stables and not carry out any activity for the next three months. The goal is to create a sterile environment once again.
“This virus stays on the stable for a very long time,” said Jafrizal.
The Indonesian government must be more cautious with this phenomenon since the swine flu (H1N1) has started to spread in China.
“This virus can spread to humans. This must be prevented,” said Jafrizal.
Read also: Daily Number of Coronavirus Cases Hits Nearly 1,400 in Indonesia
Bali pigs follow suit
Bali’s Pig Farmers Association has also reported similar sudden deaths in pigs across the island on July 2.
This has hit Bali’s pig farmers hard as market prices plummet nearly 50 percent.
Chairman of the Joint Pig Farmers Association Indonesia-Bali Province I Ketut Hari Suyasa said the price of pork has plunged to Rp 15,000 per kilogram from Rp 28,000.
I Ketut Hari Suyasa voiced his frustration in the government’s lack of concrete plans to address the problem.
The chairman emphasized that the recent changes have severely impacted traditional farmers.
(Writer: Palembang Contributor, Aji YK Putra, Bali Contributor, Robinson Gamar | Editor: Aprillia Ika, Robertus Belarminus)
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