Our Burning Planet

VIRAL DISEASE

African swine fever kills more than 100 pigs in Southern Cape

(Photo: Unsplash / Diego San)

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s head of veterinary services, Dr Gininda Msiza, said the viral disease does not affect humans.

An outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) has killed more than 100 pigs in Mossel Bay and George since 10 January.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s head of veterinary services, Dr Gininda Msiza, said the viral disease does not affect humans.

“On the other hand, swine flu is an influenza virus that affects humans, but has not been diagnosed in pigs in South Africa to date,” he said.

Msiza added: “Veterinary services were alerted to pigs dying in [KwaNonqaba in Mossel Bay] on 10 January 2022 where the pig owners reported that an estimated 70 pigs had died over the previous week. Postmortem examinations were performed and the findings were indicative of ASF.”  

Samples had been sent to the department’s Office of Veterinary Resources (OVR) for testing. 

“The test results were received on 13 January 2022, confirming ASF. The pigs of KwaNonqaba were placed under quarantine and a meeting was held with some of the affected pig farmers on 17 January 2022 to discuss control measures.”  

Msiza said ASF cases were diagnosed in Thembalethu in George on 24 January.

“Pig owners reported pigs dying in this area on 19 January 2022; it was reported that about 35 to 40 pigs had died over the previous few weeks. A postmortem was performed and samples taken to confirm the suspicion of ASF. The test results were received from the OVR on 24 January 2022 confirming the diagnosis. The pigs of Thembalethu were placed under quarantine and a meeting was held with some of the affected pig farmers on 26 January 2022 to discuss control measures,” Msiza said.

He said discussions with the affected communities, the local municipalities and disaster management were ongoing to address the outbreaks.

Western Cape agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said the provincial agriculture department’s State Veterinary Services had served a quarantine notice on pig farmers in the area.

“The quarantine notice urges community members and pig farmers not to remove any pigs or pig products from the area to prevent further spreading of the disease,” Meyer said.

He urged pig farmers to practise good biosecurity measures to ensure animal health and safety.  

Msiza said the only avenue available to protect pigs is by establishing a set of measures to reduce the risk of further spreading the disease.

“Carcasses should be disposed of safely, pigs should be confined to prevent roaming and potentially the pick-up and spread of the disease. Hands, shoes, clothing and equipment must be sanitised before and after contact with pigs, and meat products should be thoroughly cooked before being fed to pigs,” he said. 

“My department will continue to monitor the situation. In addition, our State Veterinary Services will provide the necessary advisory services to prevent the further spread of the disease.” DM/OBP

 

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  • Most people will look at the picture at the top of this article and not give a thought to the horrendous conditions under which these intelligent animals are kept – overcrowded and cramped in a shed so that that they will never see the light of day. Ammonia filling the air so that they all suffer with varying degrees of respiratory pathologies (making them more susceptible to things like ASF and others). Boredom leading them to bite and “cannibalise” each other so that many of them suffer with painful wounds to their ears and tails, some even succumbing completely. After six months of this miserable existence characterised by violence, suffering and abuse, these wretched creatures are transported to an abattoir. Here they are gassed with carbon dioxide (prior to having their Aorta’s severed); footage of this is so disturbing that it is against the rules of the abattoirs to film it.

    All of this cruelty, suffering, violence, abuse and death of these highly intelligent animals so that some of us can eat bacon; and for no other reason than that we like the taste of it. #LeaveItOffYourPlate

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