For The People

African Swine Fever scare in the Northern Cape

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has confirmed that pigs in the Namaqua District tested positive for African Swine Fever. In a recent statement issued by the department, it confirmed the presence of the disease in the area. The department also emphasized that “this is an isolated incident which does not necessarily constitute an outbreak as it has been reported in the mainstream media.”

A framer apparently noticed a strange surge in deaths of piglets on a farm outside Springbok, called Matjieskloof. This occurred whilst the department officials were conducting normal monitoring inspections due to a previous outbreak in 2017. It has also been confirmed that the infected piglets were boughat from a farm , Slypklip, situated outside Warrenton. After post-mortems were done on about 74 piglets, the State Veterinary Office in Springbok confirmed that the cause of death was as a result of African Swine Fever.

According to the department, the State Veterinarian, “found all the lymph nodes to be haemorrhagic with petechia on spleen, lungs, kidneys and the extremities and blood in the mouth and the disease was confirmed to be African Swine Fever.” It is reported that the farmer bought 5 adult pigs and 23 piglets from the farm in the Warrenton area and 15 of these died. The cause of death was later confirmed to be African Swine Fever. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) warns that African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease.

The disease is characterized by high fever, loss of appetite, haemorrhages in the skin and internal organs, and death in 2-10 days on average. The OIE furthermore states on their website that the “mortality rates may be as high as 100%.” The disease is transmitted through feeding of infected swill to pigs. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development stated that ASF is a controlled disease in South Africa. As a control measure the department indicated that it had quarantined the affected farm and that all the carcasses were burnt. All pigs who appear to be off feed are culled and burnt.

The State Veterinary’s office in Springbok will also be visiting he farm on an on-going basis as a preventative measure. The department ensured the public that the situation is being monitored and that the “situation is under control, further to caution the media to report in a responsible manner so as to prevent society from anxiety and unnecessary alarm.”

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