New African swine fever outbreak in Gauteng

New African swine fever outbreak in Gauteng
Pig farmers across the country have been warned to be on the outlook for the symptoms of African swine fever in their pig herds.
Photo: FW Archive

Gauteng’s Department of Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment is scrambling to contain yet another outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).

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This time the outbreak has been reported in what the department’s MEC, Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, described as “an informal set-up” in the Swanieville area on the West Rand.

A statement issued by Ramokgopa, said that approximately 1 000 pigs belonging to about five Swanieville pig owners would soon be culled in an attempt to prevent this disease from spreading further afield.

The World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) website describes ASF as a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs that is responsible for serious economic and production losses.

READ Farmers urged to vaccinate livestock proactively

The OIE’s website adds that although ASF is not a risk to human health, mortality rates among infected pigs can reach 100%.

Ramokgopa said a number of ASF cases had been identified in Gauteng so far this year, with a total of 540 pigs belonging to at least 40 communal and independent farmers near Daveyton, Vanderbijlpark and Nigel having to be culled as a result of the disease.

He said, in further efforts to prevent the spread of ASF, the department, along with other ASF-affected provinces, had ordered that the sale of pigs at auctions be halted until the province had been declared free of the disease, while the department was now issuing permits to farmers wanting to transport pigs from farms to abattoirs.

The department was also advising the province’s pig farmers to contact local state veterinary services for tests and permits to verify the ASF status of their animals, and it was also advising pig farmers on how to improve biosecurity in piggeries.

READ What butchers and abattoirs look for

Ramokgopa explained that the clinical symptoms of ASF included sudden and unexplained mortalities among pigs; listless behaviour or pigs huddling together; pigs eating little or stopping feeding entirely; diarrhoea; abortion in gestating sows; a reddish-blue discolouration of the skin, especially around the ears, abdomen and legs; and bleeding from the nose and rectum.

“In [the 2 to 16 August] period, 328 new [ASF] outbreaks were [reported worldwide]. The total ongoing ASF outbreaks worldwide is now 7 914 (6 082 outbreaks in Vietnam alone). In the previous report, 1 926 were [reported] as new, while 7 616 outbreaks were ongoing,” the OIE’s latest global report on ASF stated.

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