Djemi Amnifu and Hengky Ola Sura, Kupang – Almost 2,000 pigs across Timor Island in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) have died after contracting African swine fever (ASF), the NTT Animal Husbandry Agency reported on Wednesday.
Agency head Dani Sumadi said that pig deaths had occurred across four regencies and cities, namely Belu regency, North Central Timor regency, Kupang regency and Kupang.
"The ASF virus has infected pigs since the end of January. Our data shows that 1,964 pigs have died," Dani told The Jakarta Post.
Of the total deaths, 574 were recorded in Belu regency, 440 in North Central Timor, 729 in Kupang regency and 221 in Kupang, Dani said.
ASF has also has killed tens of thousands of pigs in North Sumatra and hundreds of pigs in Bali in the past few months.
Dani said the virus was very deadly, with almost a 100 percent mortality rate for pigs that became infected.
"The symptoms start with the pig refusing to eat, becoming feverish, and then experiencing seizures," he said. "Once the seizures start, the pig will certainly die."
Dani said the virus had spread from neighboring Timor-Leste, where an ASF epidemic had broken out from August to September last year.
He said his agency had imposed strict regulations on imports of processed pork products as well as live pigs from Timor-Leste since last year, in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading to the province.
"On Oct. 3, NTT Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodateven issued an instruction to ban Timor-Leste products from entering NTT," he said.
Patrisius Petrus, a pig farmer from Sikka regency, said the virus had made him worried about the future of his business.
"I don't have that many [pigs], only six of them. I keep them as a hobby after I return home from teaching at a school. My income from pig farming is enough to support my family. I hope the virus doesn't spread to Flores," Patrisius said. (dpk)