Authorities reassure consumers on pork as Vientiane outbreak reported

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Authorities have confirmed that all pork sold at Vientiane markets is safe to eat with regular inspections being carried out following the initial African swine fever outbreak in Saravan province last month. 

Meanwhile, officials have reported an outbreak in Naxiao village of Naxaithong district, Vientiane, with about 100 pigs dead. So far, 2,500 pigs nationwide have died from the disease.

Health officials confirmed that it is safe to eat pork, but it should be well cooked. Although the highly contagious disease is fatal to pigs, it does not harm humans. 

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Bounkhouang Khambounheuang, on Monday updated the media about efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever from Saravan province.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry recently called on local authorities in Saravan and other provinces to closely monitor their areas in the fight against the disease.

“Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of Health are working with the Industry and Commerce Department to inspect pork products in Vientiane markets in the interests of consumer safety.  Authorities have also inspected pig farms in the areas most at risk,” he said.

The inspections were meant to prevent the spread of African swine fever and ensure an adequate supply of pork to meet domestic demand, he added.

The Vientiane Agriculture and Forestry Department has been maintaining 24-hour surveillance on Roads 13 North and South to monitor pork shipments into the capital after Saravan province authorities confirmed outbreaks of African swine fever last month.

Authorities are continuing to check for pork shipments and associated documentation along the main transport routes, especially the checkpoint at Nongbuathong village in Pakngum district.

The Vientiane Agriculture and Forestry Department has trained specialist personnel on how to prevent the spread of the disease while veterinary teams are visiting abattoirs to check for the virus as well as inspect the documents for imported pork at markets in the capital.

The causative organism of African swine fever is a virus in the Asfarviridae family, which is particularly virulent. The condition is characterised by high fever, loss of appetite, haemorrhaging of the skin and internal organs, and death in 2-10 days on average, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

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