Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Thoko Didiza
announced on Saturday that an African Swine Fever outbreak has been detected in
the Eastern Cape Province for the first time.

The minister said the outbreak was detected after the
department’s veterinary services conducted livestock post-mortem investigations
in Amathole District Municipality in April.

The new outbreak comes months after the department had to
announce a government ban on the public auction of hoofed livestock to prevent
a spread of foot and mouth in December.

African Swine Flu kills almost all infected pigs and has no
treatment for infected pigs and no vaccine. Symptoms include bleeding on the
skin and difficulty breathing.

Didiza said the department has sent a notification to the
World Health Organisation for Animal Health after the post-mortem
investigations found African Swine Fever.

“Control measures currently in place include that all
infected pigs should be as far as possible from those that are not and must be
housed alone to avoid contact with other pigs in the area to limit the spread
of the disease,” said Didiza.

Didiza said the outbreak occurred in a communal environment,
which makes movement control and biosecurity between the respective pig herds
difficult.

The minister said if pigs from unaffected commercial pig
farms in the area are moved to the abattoir for slaughter, they must be
accompanied by health attestations to declare that the herds of origin have not
shown any signs indicative of ASF or had higher than normal pig deaths. 

She urged farmers and livestock owners to keep their pigs
enclosed and only by pigs from a reliable source.

Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo
said the department has requested police to ensure no movement of pigs between
piggeries and no unnecessary contact between pigs and people.

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The World Health Organisation for Animal Health has
conducted ongoing work to improve the surveillance, tracking and testing of
animals for diseases including African Swine Fever.

In its animal disease surveillance report for 2019, OEI said
it developed a method for estimating slippage of quarantine materials
potentially contaminated with African Swine Fever virus through the air
passenger baggage pathway.

“In the course of development, we found that shared data
sources make the approach extensible to plant protection quarantine
applications, creating the potential for an animal and plant health inspection
service wide standard methodology,” the report said.


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