African Swine Fever outbreaks identified

Monday, May 6, 2019

Two more African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks have been identified in Mpumalanga and Gauteng Provinces, following an ASF outbreak reported in the North West province at the beginning of April 2019.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) reported on Monday that the two outbreaks occurred in relatively close proximity to Delmas in Mpumalanga and Daveyton, Gauteng. 

“Samples were confirmed positive for African Swine Fever and the outbreaks were reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on 18 April 2019 (Mpumalanga) and 25 April 2019 (Gauteng). According to the results from the laboratory, the same virus is responsible for the three outbreaks in North West, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

“The affected areas have been placed under quarantine and provincial veterinary services are applying the necessary disease control measures. Veterinary services together with the industry are conducting follow-up investigations to trace the origin of the disease and to identify other farms that may possibly be affected,” the department said.   

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, the swill 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.

Quick facts about ASF:

  • Prevention is better than cure
  • There is no vaccine for ASF
  • There is no treatment for affected pigs
  • It kills almost all infected pigs

The disease is transmitted by contact with infected wild or domestic pigs; and ingestion of contaminated material including food waste, feed, or garbage.

It is also transmitted by contaminated fomites including people, vehicles, equipment, shoes, and biological vectors (soft ticks).

How to prevent infection?

Make sure you buy pigs only from reputable owners, and insist on a health attestation by their veterinarian on the health status of the farm.

If pigs are bought on auction, farmers are advised to insist on a declaration from the seller of the pigs, to confirm that they come from a healthy herd. 

Enclose your pigs to prevent contact with pigs of unknown health status, including wild pigs and warthogs.

Preferably do not feed kitchen waste, but if you have no option, remove all meats and cook the kitchen waste thoroughly.

Farmers are requested to be vigilant and to report any sudden illness and deaths of their pigs to the local state veterinarian. –