At least 4,600 pigs have allegedly died of the African swine fever in the Indonesian province of North Sumatra, the provincial administration said on Thursday.
North Sumatra's head of Food Security and Livestock Agency Azhar Harahap said the dead pigs were found in 11 regions in the province, including Medan City, Deli Serdang Regency, Toba Samosir Regency and South Tapanuli Regency.
"They belonged to local farmers, not pig farming companies in the region," local media quoted Harahap as saying.
He said further that this phenomenon has been happening since October and the virus continues to spread because some farmers disposed of the infected pig carcasses into rivers.
Farmers should have buried them instead since the virus is transmitted through the air, Harahap stressed.
The provincial administration is currently reaching local farmers particularly those in impacted areas.
To prevent the virus from spreading, North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi has sent letters to all mayors and regents prohibiting all farmers to throw infected dead pigs into rivers.
Last year, North Sumatra ranked second after East Nusa Tenggara province in terms of number of pig population in Indonesia. The number reached around 1.2 million.
In 2017, the hog cholera virus killed around 10,000 pigs owned by local farmers of Flores islands in East Nusa Tenggara. The estimated loss to farmers was around 25 billion rupiahs.