Australian pork producers on alert as deadly pig virus detected in Papua New Guinea

Zach RelphCountryman
African swine fever has been detected in Papua New Guinea.
Camera IconAfrican swine fever has been detected in Papua New Guinea. Credit: Rebecca Turner/Rebecca Turner

The devastating swine disease killing pigs across the globe has been confirmed in Papua New Guinea.

Australian Pork Limited boss Margo Andrae revealed this morning samples from dead pigs found in PNG were sent to Australia to be tested for African swine fever and had returned positive.

It is understood PNG officials are investigating how the virus spread to the country’s Southern Highlands province, including the possibility of transmission via imported canned food.

Ms Andrae said detection of ASF, which has led to the death of an estimated 200 million pigs in China since 2018, in PNG was a concern for Australian pork producers.

“While ASF does not pose human health risks, the deadly virus would absolutely devastate Australia’s pork industry if it arrived here,” she said.

“The potential national economic impact from an ASF incursion in Australia is estimated to be more than $2 billion.

“There is no cure for ASF and millions of Australian pigs would be at risk if the disease reached our country.

“That would devastate pork producers and Australian fresh pork supplies and seriously jeopardise the wellbeing of the 36,000 Australians employed in our industry.”

Since ASF was reported in China in August 2018, the disease has spread to Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, North Korea, South Korea, Philippines, East Timor and Indonesia.

It is also present in parts of eastern Europe.

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