The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

George, Groeneweide Park

African Swine Fever Outbreak Sparks Concern in George

Michael Hawthorne

GARDEN ROUTE – Last week, on 7 February, a troubling development occurred on the outskirts of Groeneweide Park in George, as small farmers reported a new outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF). This marks the fourth occurrence of the disease in the Garden Route area since 2022, with previous outbreaks reported in KwaNonqaba and Mossel Bay in 2022 and 2023, and an ongoing concern in Thembalethu since 2022.

The current outbreak has already claimed the lives of approximately 45 pigs, with an estimated 250 pigs remaining in the affected area. Authorities have taken swift action by placing the region under quarantine, emphasizing the urgency for community members to refrain from removing any pigs or pig products from the area to prevent further spread of the disease.

African Swine Fever is a highly contagious virus that affects pigs, and at present, there is no vaccination or specific treatment available for its prevention. The primary defence against the disease lies in robust biosecurity measures to protect the pig industry.

Critical measures to minimize the spread include the safe disposal of carcasses, confining pigs to prevent roaming and potential transmission, sanitizing hands, shoes, clothing, and equipment before and after contact with pigs, ensuring thorough cooking of meat products before feeding to pigs, and verifying that purchased pigs come from known ASF-free herds.

It’s important to note that ASF is specific to pigs and does not pose a threat to humans or other animal species. The Department of Agriculture reassures the public that pigs slaughtered at abattoirs undergo thorough meat inspection, and pork products available in supermarkets are safe for human consumption.

The typical signs of an ASF outbreak include sudden pig deaths, along with potential symptoms such as breathing difficulties, skin redness, hind leg weakness, loss of appetite, and, in some cases, blood in faeces and vomit. The Department urges individuals who observe these signs to contact their nearest State Veterinary Office promptly.

In response to the outbreak, the Western Cape Government calls upon all pig owners to implement stringent biosecurity measures to safeguard their livestock and encourages farmers with concerns to contact their nearest State Veterinary Office. More information can be found at the State Veterinary Office. The collective effort to address this outbreak is crucial for protecting the region’s pig industry and ensuring the safety of both animals and the community.


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