Medical experts have suggested that wild pigs being smuggled from Malaysia to Thailand are carrying a strain of African swine fever. The World Organization for Animal Health stated that the fever is a highly contagious disease and can infect both farm and wild pigs, The Thaiger reported.

The disease is also the cause of economic losses in countries where it is prominent. Thailand has seen a rise in the number of wild pigs being smuggled from Malaysia, given the low demand there due to the dominant Islamic belief, which prohibits the consumption of pork.

Jeerasak Pipattanapongsophon, the deputy director-general (DG) of Thailand’s Livestock Development Department, said animals that are smuggled are not screened properly.

At a press conference on October 26, the deputy DG said the pigs are being smuggled to various regions in Thailand, including Lampang and Chiang Mai, and authorities including the army had been contacted and asked to tackle the issue.

Preecha Kijthavorn, the president of the Southern Pig Farmers Association, said the group had told members to control access to prevent the spread of the disease.