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East Timor reports African swine fever outbreaks

PARIS (Reuters) – East Timor reported outbreaks of African swine fever last week, the first occurrence near its border with giant neighbor Indonesia of a virus that killed millions of pigs around Asia, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said.

A hundred outbreaks killed a total of 405 backyard pigs from smallholders’ farms in the Dili municipal region in the country’s north, East Timor’s agriculture ministry said in a report posted on the website of the Paris-based OIE.

The tiny Pacific nation of East Timor shares an island with Indonesia’s province of East Nusa Tenggara and is located north of Australia.

Pigs on smallholder farms in the affected area are estimated to number 44,000 in total, based on 2015 census data, it added.

The source of the outbreak, or origin of infection, was unknown.

African swine fever is not harmful to humans but is deadly to pigs, with no available vaccine. It surfaced for the first time in Asia more than a year ago, in China, before spreading to southeast Asian nations, such as Cambodia and Vietnam.

Severe damage to pig herds in China, the world’s top pork producer, has disrupted global markets from pork to feed, including corn and soymeal.

Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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