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“It’s scary for us” | Pig disease gets closer to Australia

A disease capable of wiping out Australia’s pork industry has been detected in Indonesia.

African Swine Fever has decimated global pork supplies in 2019, killing an estimated 200 million pigs in China this year.

The virus has now been confirmed in North Sumatra, which is concerning for the Australian industry because of the high volume of tourists to Indonesia.

Australian Pork Chief Executive Margo Andrae told Macquarie’s Rural Reporter Eddie Summerfield it’s a worry.

“We’ve been waiting, it is scary for us, it just means this virus know no bounds,” Ms Andrae said.

While African Swine Fever can’t infect people, it can be carried – and that’d what has Australia’s pork industry on high alert.

“It can be picked up on your footwear, and this virus can actually live for 36 days without a host, so it doesn’t need to be on the pig, it can actually be on your footwear,” Ms Andrae said.

“Then if you come into contact with our pigs, that’s exactly how quickly it can spread.”

In recent weeks the Federal Government has increased biosecurity officer numbers at the country’s airports, and is deploying more sniffer dogs to stop pork products illegally coming into Australia.

Australian Pork is also mindful of the number of backyard pigs.

“There’s potentially around 10,000 across the country with a pig in the backyard, if you are one of those people, and you’re returning from Indonesia, you are part of the Australian pork industry, and you must adhere to our biosecurity rules,” Ms Andrae said.

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