George's pig farms under quarantine as ASF outbreak confirmed

A new outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed in pigs of small farmers on the outskirts of Groeneweide Park, George. This is the fourth outbreak of the disease in the Garden Route area since 2022.
Source: aleksandarlittlewolf via
Source: aleksandarlittlewolf via Freepik

There have been outbreaks in KwaNonqaba and Mossel Bay in 2022 and 2023 which were both resolved; and an outbreak in Thembalethu in 2022 which remains a concern.

It is estimated that about 45 pigs have died thus far with about 250 pigs remaining in the area. The area has been placed under quarantine and community members have been urged to not remove any pigs or pig products from the area to prevent 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.

The following measures are critical to minimising the spread:

• All carcasses should be disposed of safely;
• Pigs should be confined to prevent roaming and potentially picking up and spreading the disease;
• Hands, shoes, clothing and equipment should be sanitised before and after being in contact with a pig, so people do not spread the virus between animals;
• Any meat products should be thoroughly cooked before being fed to pigs; and
• Farmers should confirm that any purchased pigs are bought from known ASF-free herds.

ASF virus is specific to pigs and does not affect humans or other species of animals. In a statement, the Western Cape Goverment's Department of Agriculture said that the public needs to know that pigs slaughtered at abattoirs have undergone meat inspection. Pork products found in supermarkets are safe for human consumption.

Usually, the first signs of an ASF outbreak are the sudden death of pigs. In some cases, other symptoms can include breathing difficulties, redness of the skin, especially underneath the pig and on the ears, hind leg weakness and loss of appetite. Occasionally the pig may also have blood in their faeces and their vomit. Should these signs be seen, please contact your closest State Veterinary Office.

Pig owners are urged to implement strict biosecurity to protect their livestock from this disease and to call their nearest State Veterinary Office should farmers have any concerns.

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