The concern of another pandemic is real, with the discovery of a new strain of the Swine Flu in Wuhan, WHO is taking the matter seriously and has asked China to monitor the situation. According to researches the virus has all the characteristics to transmit from the animal to humans.
Fear of the virus spreading to other nations could cause another pandemic like in 2009 where hundreds of thousands of pigs were culled to prevent the spread. So it is alarming when thee Department of Veterinary Services detected seropositive samples of Swine Influenza H1N1 (SIV H1N1) virus or swine flu in commercial livestock and wild boars in the country.
In a statement released, the department, however did note that the seropositive pig breeds showed no symptoms of any disease and were not at risk of spreading the infection to humans.
“While the test results for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus (H1N1 pdm09) were negative for all relevant samples,” the statement said.
How the virus came about and what the pig farmers are doing to mitigate future spread is unclear at the moment. Accordingly, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) through the DVS and the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (MAQIS) are taking various measures to prevent the disease from entering the country.
Awareness campaigns on swine flu is being introduced and livestock breeders are being urged to increase farm biosecurity. Malaysia’s pig industry has a livestock population of 1,748,547 worth some RM5 billion being bred in 614 commercial farms, involving about 5,000 workers.