African swine fever (ASF) has reached Papua New Guinea, part of a Pacific island north of Australia.
Papua New Guinea became the latest country to confirm the disease on March 25, following the deaths of about 396 ‘free ranging pigs’ reported by a livestock official based in Mendi town on March 5.
The clinical symptoms included a number of ‘sudden deaths’, with some pigs surviving the outbreak. It is estimated there were 500 cases from a group of around 700 pigs, according to the official OIE report.
Samples of some dead pigs were tested using ASF antigen ELISA test and repeat rapid test kits, with two testing positive for ASF. Samples were then dispatched to Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) for confirmatory PCR testing.
Various control measures have been put in place, including movement restrictions and enhanced surveillance.
There is no indication of how the virus, which has spread across much of Asia, reached the island.