African swine fever confirmed in George

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A new outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) was recently confirmed in pigs of small producers on the outskirts of Groeneweide Park, George. This is the fourth outbreak of this disease in the Garden Route area since 2022. Past outbreaks occurred in KwaNonqaba and Mossel Bay in 2022 and 2023, both of which were successfully contained. However, the 2022 outbreak in Thembalethu continues to pose a problem.

Approximately 45 pigs have died thus far, leaving around 250 pigs in the area. The area has been quarantined and community members have been urged to not remove any pigs or pig-related products from the area to prevent the further spread of the disease.

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.

Learn more about the difference between ASF and swine fever here.

The following measures are critical to minimise the spread:

  • All carcasses should be disposed of safely.
  • Pigs should be confined to prevent roaming and potentially contracting or spreading the disease.
  • Hands, shoes, clothing and equipment should be sanitised before and after being in contact with a pig. This precaution helps prevent the transmission of the virus from one animal to another.
  • Any meat products should be thoroughly cooked before being fed to pigs.
  • Producers should confirm that any purchased pigs are bought from known ASF-free herds.

ASF virus is exclusive to pigs and poses no threat to humans or other animal species. The public needs to know that pigs slaughtered at abattoirs have undergone meat inspection. Pork products found in supermarkets are safe for human consumption.

Read more about the Animal Disease Act’s approach to African swine fever here.

Typically, the first sign of an ASF outbreak is the abrupt death of pigs. However, in some cases, other symptoms can include breathing difficulties, skin redness (particularly under the pig and on the ears), weakness in the hind legs and loss of appetite.

Occasionally the pig may also have blood in their faeces and vomit. Should these signs be observed, please contact your closest state veterinary office.

The department calls on all pig owners to implement strict biosecurity measures to protect their livestock from this disease. – Press release, Western Cape Department of Agriculture

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