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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Garden Route pig farmers hit by African swine fever outbreak…What to know

Small pig farms in George have been placed under temporary quarantine after an outbreak of African Swine Fever in the area.

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture has called on all pig farmers in the Garden Route to implement strict measures to protect their livestock from the latest African Swine Fever (AFS) outbreak in the region.

This follows the confirmation of the outbreak on 7 February in pigs of small farmers on the outskirts of Groeneweide Park, in George.

African swine fever: Fourth outbreak in Garden Route

Western Cape MEC for Agriculture, Ivan Meyer, said at least 45 pigs have died, with 250 pigs remaining in the affected area which has been placed under quarantine.

“The area has been placed under temporary 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,” Meyer said.

This is the fourth outbreak of the disease in the Garden Route area since 2022.

Previously, there has been outbreaks in KwaNonqaba and Mossel Bay in 2022 and 2023, which were both resolved.

An outbreak in Thembalethu in 2022, though, remains a concern, according to a statement released by the department.

No threat to humans

 Departmental spokesperson, Daniel Johnson, explained in an SABC News interview that the African Swine Fever virus is specific to pigs and does not affect humans or other species of animals.

According to Johnson, pork products are safe for human consumption.

“Pigs slaughtered at abattoirs have undergone meat inspection and the meat is safe for human consumption,” he said.

“The department calls on all pig owners to implement strict biosecurity to protect their livestock from this disease and to call their nearest state veterinary office should farmers have any concerns.”

No vaccine

State veterinarian, Dr Leana Janse van Rensburg, said there’s no vaccine to prevent pigs from getting the virus and has stressed the importance of pig farmer and owners implementing good biosecurity measures critical to minimise the spread of African Swine Fever.

Biosecurity measures to prevent spread of African swine fever

Janse van Rensburg stressed the importance of pig farmer and owners implementing the following biosecurity measures critical to minimise the spread of African Swine Fever:

  • 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.

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