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Johannesburg - Another case of African Swine Fever (ASF) has been reported this month in the Heilbron area in the Free State province, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry revealed on Monday.

In a statement spokesperson, Khaye Nkwanyana, said: "This follows outbreaks in April 2019 in the North West, Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces. 

"All four outbreaks occurred outside of the ASF controlled area of South Africa and have been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

"The affected areas have been placed under quarantine and provincial veterinary services are applying the necessary disease control measures." 

Nkwanyana said veterinary services together with the industry were conducting follow-up investigations to trace the origin of the disease and to identify other farms that may possibly be affected.

In order to prevent the spread of ASF, the ministry has warned pig buyers to, "make sure you buy pigs only from reputable owners, and insist on a health attestation by their veterinarian of the health status of the farm".

The statement said: "If pigs are bought on auction, farmers are advised to insist on a declaration from the seller of the pigs, to confirm that they come from a healthy herd. 

"Enclose your pigs to prevent contact with pigs of unknown health status, including wild pigs and warthogs.

"If you have had contact with pigs other than your own, wash your clothes, shoes, any equipment used as well as shower before coming into contact with your own pigs. The same goes for any vehicles that had contact with other pigs.

"Preferably do not feed kitchen waste, but if you have no other option, remove all meats and cook the kitchen waste thoroughly."

Allaying fears of possible dangers to consumers, the ministry said ASF does not affect humans and the consumption of pork is safe.

"However, any meat and products from affected pigs can be a source of infection to other pigs. Farmers should therefore ensure that, if any swill is fed to pigs, it must be precooked for at least an hour. This will ensure the inactivation of the ASF virus, as well as other diseases of concern," explained the statement.

"Farmers are again requested to be vigilant and to report any sudden illness and deaths of their pigs to the local state veterinarian." 

African News Agency (ANA)