African Swine Fever detected in the North West

2019-04-11 21:24

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Zeerust in the North West has reportedly been hit by an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

It was reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Wednesday, according to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

"The virus is endemic in wildlife in the ASF-controlled area (shown in the map in red stripes) and specific measures for keeping pigs in this area are described in the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act No. 35 of 1984), which also includes restrictions on the movement of pigs and pig products from this area," department spokesperson Zweli Silangwe said in a statement.

Swine fever

                      Map indicating the African Swine fever controlled area and the location of the outbreak 

                                                                                            (Supplied) 

Silangwe said the North West Provincial Veterinary Services placed the farm under quarantine and it was also conducting follow-up investigations and applying disease control measures for the outbreak. 

Swine Fever is a severe disease in pigs which can cause pigs to become sick very fast and can result in the death of large numbers in a very short time period.

The disease is transmitted by contact with infected pigs or warthogs carrying infected ticks (tampans) from the endemic area.

To prevent infection, the department has advised farmers to keep pigs in enclosures/camps that are warthog-proof.

"It is also important to only buy pigs that come from a healthy herd and not to buy pigs of an unknown health status. Under no circumstances should swill be fed to pigs unless it has been cooked for an hour in order to inactivate the ASF virus and other diseases of concern," said Silangwe. 

The South African Pork Producers' Organisation (Sappo) also confirmed the outbreak on the farm in a press release on Thursday.

Sappo said while there were reports on Wednesday that the outbreak killed 32 out of 36 pigs on a farm in the Ditsobotla district, with the remaining animals slaughtered, the outbreak occurred outside South Africa's control zone for the disease and may be linked to contact with wild animals.

"[This is an] isolated incident and it seems not to pose any risk to the South African commercial pig industry at this stage," said Sappo CEO Johann Kotzé. 

Kotzé said the farm was put under quarantine by Dr Nelmarie Kruger-Rall of the provincial Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development. 

He added that the farmer fed swill as part of the pigs' diet - a practice that should be avoided at all costs. "The outbreak also supports the fact that the compartment production system is one of the most important measures a farmer can take to safeguard his farm against an ASF outbreak," Kotzé said.

The North West Department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development says it has dispatched a team of veterinarians and animal health technicians to deal with the case.

Pig keepers were advised to be careful of where they buy the animals and what they feed them because the disease can be devastating to their herd.

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  animals  |  health
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