TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Visitors from Myanmar who bring pork products with them will be fined NT$200,000 (US$6,312) starting Thursday (Aug. 15), said Taiwan’s disease prevention authorities, as the country has been added to the list of areas reporting African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks.
Myanmar notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of the presence of ASF on Wednesday (Aug. 14), making it the seventh country in Asia to report an outbreak of the pig epidemic, said the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHI). The other Asian countries that have recorded cases of the disease are China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, and Laos.
The outbreak occurred at a pig farm in the eastern part of the country, adjacent to Laos and bordering China’s Yunnan Province. Of the 15 hogs that had contracted the infectious disease, 12 died, and another 53 pigs were culled to prevent it from spreading. Possible causes of the outbreak include importing live hogs, smuggling them, and feeding them with food waste, the OIE pointed out.
Myanmar was categorized as a high-risk area for ASF in February, meaning that the check-in and carry-on luggage of visitors arriving from the country would be subject to a thorough X-ray scan for suspicious products, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.
Travelers from the country are warned against carrying pork products into Taiwan. First-time violators will be penalized with a fine of NT$200,000, and repeat offenses will face a fine of NT$1 million, said the BAPHI.