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African Swine fever outbreak reported in the Western Cape for the first time

Photo: Paxsims

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
(DALRRD) and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, jointly
report an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Western Cape.

Two small-holding farms in Mfuleni, North of Khayelitsha, were found
positive for ASF, after laboratory testing of samples from dead pigs.
Approximately 5% of pigs had died on each of the two properties and the
disease has the potential to kill all pigs on a farm.

A ban has been placed on the sale and movement of live pigs from
Mfuleni, to limit the spread of the disease. A survey has been initiated by
the Western Cape Veterinary Services, to determine the extent of the
spread of the disease Mfuleni and the immediate surrounding area. This
includes the collection of further samples from any dead pigs from any
suspect farm. The origin of the outbreak is still unknown but the clues
may be provided by the study of the specific virus detected and by
information provided by affected farmers.

Farmers are requested to be vigilant and to report any sudden illnesses
and deaths of their pigs to the local State Veterinary office immediately,
so that swift action can be initiated to prevent the spread of this disease.
Since 2019, the provinces outside the ASF controlled area affected by
ASF have been Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Free State, North West,
Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape.

In 2021 thus far, there have been numerous outbreaks in Gauteng
reported in the Randfontein, Tembisa and Midvaal areas. The latest
outbreak in the Free State was reported in January 2021, where contact
with warthog is suspected to have played a role. In North West, the
latest ASF outbreak was reported in the Potchefstroom area in February
2021, after a smallholder experienced high pig mortalities. Investigations
into the source and spread of this outbreak have been initiated. Within
the ASF controlled area, a single outbreak was also reported in the
Thabazimbi area of Limpopo in February 2021.

The disease is transmitted to pigs by contact with infected wild or
domestic pigs, and contact with contaminated people, vehicles,
equipment or shoes, and eating contaminated food waste, feed, or
garbage, or by being bitten by infected soft ticks. The department
therefore urges owners to improve their biosecurity measures and to be
very vigilant on good husbandry practices.

BIOSECURITY PREVENTS AFRICAN SWINE FEVER

You can keep your pigs safe by following these recommendations:

  • Enclose your pigs to prevent contact with pigs of unknown health status, including wild pigs and warthogs.
  • Only buy healthy pigs from a reliable source.
  • Preferably, do not feed kitchen waste, but if you have no option, remove all meats and cook the kitchen waste thoroughly.
  • Do not allow visitors to have contact with your pigs.
  • Before having contact with pigs, wash hands, only use clean clothes, shoes, equipment and vehicles (that have not been in contact with other pigs).

ASF does not affect humans and the consumption of pork is safe;
however, any meat and products from affected pigs can be a source of
infection to other pigs. Farmers should ensure that, if any swill is fed to
pigs, it must be pre-cooked for at least an hour. This will ensure the
inactivation of the ASF virus, as well as other diseases of concern.

Issued by the department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural
Development

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