Have you heard of African Swine Fever?

Are you wondering what it is?

Then give yourself the pleasure of satisfying your curiosity.

What is African swine fever?

African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease that affects both domestic pigs and wild boars. It causes an extremely severe contagious hemorrhage disease that’s usually fatal for all domesticated pigs and wild boars.

What are the symptoms?

The clinical signs of African swine fever are variable and not always easy to recognize. Diseased animals would show some or all of the following symptoms; high fever, weakness, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, reluctance to stand, and sometimes bloody red or blue-colored skin particularly around the ears and snout, difficulty breathing, coughing, miscarriage, stillbirth, weak litters, at times sudden death will be the only clinical sign. The infected animals will die within 10 days.

How can it be spread?

The virus can be spread through direct contact with infected wild and domestic pigs through the bites of some soft tick species which are an important part of the infection cycle of warthogs in East Africa. It can also be spread by feeding infected pork or pork products to pigs, contact with contaminated materials, e.g. people wearing contaminated footwear/clothing, and also feeding pigs with kitchen waste. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect African swine has infected your herd and always your clothing and footwear when leaving the farm.

Are humans susceptible to this virus?

African swine fever is a viral pathogen that affects only members of the pig family. This includes pet pigs, livestock pigs, as well as feral pigs. Humans and other animals are not susceptible to diseases. This means that pork is safe for humans to eat but not for pigs.

How long can the virus survive?

African swine fever is very resilient in the environment. It can survive for over a hundred days in fresh and cured pork and 300 days in dried meat. The virus can survive indefinitely in frozen products. If you visit any infected pig farms, the virus could live on your shoe and clothes. The virus could also survive in the soil or feces for a day or longer.

In addition to African swine fever being resilient, there is no vaccine or cure available for it anywhere in the world. For this reason, it has serious socio-economic consequences in affected countries. If one pig is infected, 100% death loss of the pigs is probable on a single farm.

How can I protect pigs from African swine fever?

  1. Purchase feed litter or pigs from a trusted farm that has carried out the necessary measures to protect their farms from the virus.
  2. Do not feed pigs with kitchen waste.
  3. Don’t purchase pork or pork products from affected areas.
  4. Do not allow pigs to have direct contact with wild boars or pigs from another farm.
  5. Avoid outdoor farming in areas affected by Africa swine fever.

Remember, African swine fever does not affect humans, but it’s spread by humans, live pigs, or pork products. If it finds its way into any country, the pork prices in that country would crash and many livelihoods would suffer.

There is no vaccine and there is no cure for African swine fever. Follow the guidelines to protect your pigs from this virus.

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