African swine fever found in package of Thai sausages

Sausages in an intercepted package from Thailand were confirmed to be infected with the African swine fever virus, the Central Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) said on Thursday.

The Agriculture Council’s (COA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Office, which oversees the center, said a package was reported by a post office in Tainan on Wednesday last week after discovering that it contained sausages.

A lab test carried out on Friday last week found the meat to carry the African swine fever virus.

Photo courtesy of the Office of Plant and Animal Health Inspection and Quarantine via CNA

The sausages tested positive again in a confirmatory test at an office lab on Wednesday.

This is the first time that African swine fever has been detected in pork products from Thailand, CEOC said.

Although pork products found in the luggage of a Thai traveler three months ago were determined to carry the virus, it was not clear whether the food came from Thailand, as there was no labeling, and because the person had entered from China, the COA said. .

The office said Thailand had not yet reported a case of African swine fever to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The intercepted package would be returned to Thailand, the case being reported to the OIE national representative, the center said.

While some of Thailand’s neighbors border China, the CEOC predicted in a 2019 risk assessment that the virus would eventually travel to the country via Southeast Asia, he said.

Luggage, express mail and parcels from Southeast Asian countries were subjected to detailed inspections, including x-rays, upon entering Taiwan, the office said.

Taiwanese should refrain from receiving pork products from other countries, especially given their popularity during the Lunar New Year period, as packages containing such products must be turned over to an agency authorized by the bureau to be destroyed, CEOC said.

Under the Infectious Animal Disease Prevention and Control Act (動物 傳染病 防治 條例), those who fail to comply with regulations could be fined NT $ 30,000 to NT $ 150,000, CEOC said .

The African swine fever pandemic remains a serious concern in Asia, with the virus having been found in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, North Korea, in the Philippines, South Korea, Timor-Leste, South Korea and Vietnam, he added.

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