Combating African Swine Fever in Timor-Leste with Associate Professor Paul Hick


Since it first arrived in Asia in 2018, African swine fever virus has caused a devastating pandemic resulting in more than a quarter of the global pig population being killed by this disease. As there is currently no vaccine or treatment for this disease, which has a nearly 100% mortality rate in infected pigs, a strong focus has been placed on preventative biosecurity measures. But this strategy has proved particularly challenging in Timor-Leste, where pigs often roam freely around villages.

In this episode, Associate Professor Paul Hick speaks to Dr Thushara Dibley about his work reducing the impact of African swine fever and other animal diseases on local livelihoods in Timor-Leste.

Paul Hick is an Associate Professor in veterinary virology at the Sydney School of Veterinary Science. Paul’s skills in field epidemiology and laboratory tests for animal disease are used to provide better understanding of complex multifactorial diseases across a range of farming systems. The goal is to reduce the burden of disease and promote ethical and sustainable animal production.

Paul has 10 years’ experience studying disease in aquaculture in Indonesia where he aimed to help adapt to a food secure future through improved health, welfare and production of aquatic animals. Recently he has embarked on the new challenge of improving disease surveillance in Timor-Leste. A focus of these activities will be capacity building of the veterinary service to support diagnosis of disease and provide preventative advice for improved health, welfare and production.

For more information or to browse additional resources, visit the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s website here.

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