African swine fever breaks out in informal piggeries

The Delmas and Sundra districts in Mpumalanga have been placed under quarantine after pigs with African swine fever were found in nine different informal piggeries in the region.

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This is according to Simon Streicher, CEO of the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO).  “Officials of the South African Veterinary Services are still conducting inspections in the area and all infected animals are being destroyed. This follows the outbreak of the disease in Delmas early in January when infected animals were sold on a local auction.”

He said the disease didn’t spread to any formal piggeries and that it seems as if it is restricted to the Delmas and Sundra districts. It is a very active viral disease and affected animals die within a day.

“I caution people not to buy pigs on an auction. One doesn’t know where the animals come from. Pigs on auction are usually sold by speculators who buy and sell pigs for a living, irrespective of where the animals come from,’’ he said. Streicher explained that the disease is endemic to South Africa and is often transmitted through contact between domestic pigs and members of the wild pig family such as bush pigs and warthogs.

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Symptoms include fever, coupled with bruising and bleeding under the skin, said Steicher. ‘‘Humans aren’t susceptible to the disease.” Dr Peter Evans, SAPPO’s veterinary liaison officer, said that pigs should only be bought from piggeries with a known disease status and warned farmers never to introduce pigs from auctions into their own piggeries.

Evans called on pig farmers to fence their piggeries effectively to prevent contact with people and other animals and the pigs from digging underneath the fences.

For information about biological controls on pig farms, visit