An outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) has been reported for the first time in the Western Cape. The outbreak was confirmed by the national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (DoA). The disease was confirmed on two smallholding farms in Mfuleni, north of Khayelitsha.

The pigs tested positive for ASF through laboratory testing of post mortem samples submitted to the ARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute. The Western Cape DoA said the “finding follows the intensive investigation conducted by its veterinary services to determine the cause of the pigs dying in the area over the past two weeks”.

According to DALRRD, approximately 5% of pigs died on each of the two properties. Consequently a ban has been placed on the sale and movement of live pigs from Mfuleni to limit disease spread. Although ASF poses no danger of infecting humans, the spread must be curbed to prevent a spread to other pig farms. The Western Cape Veterinary Services has initiated a survey to determine the extent of the spread of the disease.

“I urge pig farmers to ensure they only purchase pigs from farms with a proven clean health record,” said Minister Ivan Meyer. “Farmers must adopt good hygiene management practices on their farms to minimise the risk of disease introduction, or the spread of the disease through good biosecurity measures.” 

According to Dr Gininda Msiza, head of the Western Cape DoA’s Veterinary Services, the virus can also be spread via any part of a raw pig carcass. For enquiries, contact Dr Msiza on 084 604 6705 or  ginindaM@elsenburg.com. For more information about the case as well as symptoms of ASF, click here to read the original press release. – Ursula Human, AgriOrbit