File picture: Bloomberg

RUSTENBURG - An outbreak of African Swine Fever has been reported in the Zeerust area of the North West province, the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries said on Thursday.

"The farm has been placed under quarantine by the North West provincial veterinary services, who are also doing follow-up investigations and applying disease control measures for this outbreak," said acting spokesperson Zweli Silangwe.

"African Swine Fever is a severe disease in pigs which can cause pigs to become sick very fast and can result in the death of large numbers of pigs in a very short time period. It does not affect humans in any way. The disease is transmitted by contact with infected pigs or warthogs carrying infected ticks from the endemic area. Feeding of infected swill (kitchen waste) can also transmit the disease."

Zeerust is outside of the African Swine Fever controlled area of South Africa, this was reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health on April 10.

The department said in order to prevent infection of pigs, farmers were advised to keep pigs in enclosures or camps that were warthog-proof. 

It was also important to only buy pigs that come from a healthy herd and not to buy pigs of an unknown health status. 

"Under no circumstances should swill be fed to pigs unless it has been cooked for an hour in order to inactivate the African Swine Fever virus and other diseases of concern," said Silangwe.

Pig keepers throughout South Africa were advised to be extremely careful as to where they buy pigs, how they keep pigs and what they feed pigs, as this disease could be devastating to their herd.

African News Agency (ANA)