Pig industry in peril as Swine Fever strikes

Pig owners in the province have been urged to implement strict biosecurity measures to protect their livestock from African Swine Fever (ASF) following a confirmed outbreak in George.

Pig owners in the province have been urged to implement strict biosecurity measures to protect their livestock from African Swine Fever (ASF) following a confirmed outbreak in George.

Published Feb 19, 2024

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Pig owners in the province have been urged to implement strict biosecurity measures to protect their livestock from African Swine Fever (ASF) following a confirmed outbreak in George.

The provincial department of agriculture on Sunday said about 45 pigs have died so far following a new outbreak of ASF in pigs of small farmers on the outskirts of Groeneweide Park.

This is the fourth outbreak of this disease in the Garden Route area since 2022. Previously there had been outbreaks in KwaNonqaba and Mossel Bay in 2022 and 2023 which were both resolved; and an outbreak in Thembalethu in 2022 which remains a concern, the department noted.

“The area has been placed under quarantine and community members have been urged to not remove any pigs or pig products from the area to prevent further spread of the disease,” the department said.

ASF is a virus that affects pigs and there is no vaccination or treatment currently available for the prevention of the disease.

Good biosecurity measures remain the best way to protect the pig industry and a number of measures are critical to minimising the spread, the department said.

All carcasses should be disposed of safely; pigs should be confined to prevent roaming and potentially picking up and spreading the disease; hands, shoes, clothing and equipment should be sanitised before and after being in contact with a pig, any meat products should be thoroughly cooked before being fed to pigs; and farmers should confirm that any purchased pigs are bought from known ASF-free herds.

“ASF virus is specific to pigs and does not affect humans or other species of animals.

“The public needs to know that pigs slaughtered at abattoirs have undergone meat inspection. Pork products found in supermarkets are safe for human consumption.”

For more information, visit https:// www.elsenburg.com/veterinary-services/animal-health-and-disease-control/.

Cape Times

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