Cape Town - The African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak announced in two small-holdings in Mfuleni, north of Khayelitsha, just over 10 days ago is now under control, according to provincial Veterinary Services head Gininda Msiza.
Msiza said samples sent to the ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute in Pretoria had confirmed it was the same virus strain identified in Gauteng and Eastern Cape provinces.
The virus, which can be spread via any part of a raw pig carcass, does not affect humans, but asked if there was any danger of it spreading to other farms in the Western Cape or elsewhere and what precautions farmers should take, Msiza said: “There is a constant threat of spread.
“This is the first time ASF has been diagnosed in the Western Cape in recent years. It follows recent outbreaks in the Free State, Eastern Cape province and Gauteng. Precautionary measures have to be put in place to mitigate possible spread.
“Affected properties must be quarantined and no animals and animal products are allowed to move out, disinfectants effective against ASF virus must be utilised and all suspect animals must be reported to the local state veterinary office, where they will be tested and removed safely,” said Msiza.
According to senior state veterinarian Gary Burhmann: “We suspect, but cannot confirm, that the disease may have been brought into the Western Cape from the Eastern Cape, as the same serotype of the virus we diagnosed here was found in an outbreak there earlier this year.”
He said: “We know there are a large number of Eastern Cape residents living in this area and it is quite possible that they either brought infected piglets or pork products back on their return from the Eastern Cape after the Christmas break, as reports seem to indicate that the deaths started at least two months ago.”
Industroclean managing director Emma Corder, who supplies cleaning equipment to the agricultural sector, said: “Strict biosecurity and farm management protocols could help minimise the spread of the disease and can enhance the health and productivity of pigs.
“To avoid cross-contamination, all farm staff and visitors’ hands and boots should be disinfected regularly before entering the piggery.
“Equipment used in pens should be cleaned and disinfected before and after use.”