23 Aug 2004

Outbreak of swinefever in Indonesian province in Papua could threaten PNG

7:31 am on 23 August 2004

An Australian scientist says outbreak of swine fever in the Indonesian province of Papua has killed more than 9-thousand pigs since May and threatens to spread further into neighbouring countries.

Lee Fitzpatrick, the director of the Australian Institute of Tropical Veterinary and Animal Sciences, says cases of the disease are now being found in southern parts of neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

Mr Fitzpatrick says the disease, which does not affect humans, could decimate the pig populations in both countries.

Mr Fitzpatrick says, if left unchecked, the disease could also spread down into Australia and threaten the pork industry there.

Swine fever is thought to have been introduced into Papua by pigs brought in through an Indonesian food aid programme.