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FAO and Cambodia partner to respond to African swine fever

Press Release
09/04/2019

April 5, 2019, CAMBODIA: The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will strengthen collaboration in response to the first African swine fever (ASF) incursion reported in the country. Cambodian animal health authorities reported that the first ASF outbreak was in Ratanakiri province, northeast of the country bordering with Lao PDR and Viet Nam.

The Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) immediately declared a Ministerial declaration last 2 April 2019 putting control measures nationwide. ASF is a devastating hemorrhagic fever of pigs with mortality rates reaching 100 per cent. It causes major economic losses, threatens food security and limits pig production in affected countries. The risk of ASF for countries free from the disease has increased due to the increased global movement and trade of livestock and animal products.

In Southeast Asia (SEA), animals are an important part of socioeconomic development and outbreaks of animal diseases, particularly Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Avian Influenza (AI) and recently ASF in China, Mongolia and Viet Nam have resulted in serious adverse effects.

Strengthening the current preparedness and response mechanism

While a number of control measures relevant to ASF have been put in place including directives issued by national and sub-national authorities, there is still a need to review gaps and strengthen the control measures in the country to sustain efforts towards better disease outbreak response and control.

The FAO in collaboration with the General Directorate of the Animal Health and Production (GDAHP) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) at national and sub-national levels, relevant ministries, academia, the private sector, development partners and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) will meet on 8-9 April 2019 for the first national consultative workshop to develop preparedness and response plan for ASF. They aim to review and adjust the existing ASF contingency plan, develop operational guidelines and standard operation procedures (SOPS) linked to the preparedness and response plan to be used for ASF outbreak containment and control, and identify the required field Task Forces to be deployed during ASF outbreaks.

Mr Alexandre HUYNH, Representative of FAO in Cambodia emphasizes that it is crucial to have preparedness and response plan in place to keep diseases under control. He stated that “the development of the plan requires commitment, contribution and involvement from all relevant stakeholders to maintain effectiveness of disease control in Cambodia.” “As stated in the Ministerial declaration, when control measures are being implemented in Sorm Kanin village affected by ASF, nobody is allowed to enter the restricted zone except authorized officials. Stringent measures to limit the spread of the ASF virus is crucial to prevent further economic losses and devastating livelihood impacts” he added.

ASF is not a health-risk to humans but only to wild and domestic pigs. The virus can survive for long in cured, dried and salted pork and often gets introduced to the farm through swill feeding of pigs. There is currently no cure nor is there an effective vaccine or treatment available for ASF. Once pigs are infected, the only measure is to cull the affected pig populations. 

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For media inquiries please kindly contact Mr. Oum Sokkhoeun, National Communications and Advocacy Officer, Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), FAO Cambodia.

Tel: 012 529 296, Email: sokkhoeun.oum@fao.org