Thursday, June 4, 2020

Botswana shuts doors to SA Pig products due to swine flu outbreak

BY PATIENCE RADISOENG

The Department of Veterinary Services on Friday informed famers across the country that it has banned importation of pigs from South Africa.

The ban in importation follows an outbreak of African swine fever in the neighbouring country. The Director of Veterinary Services Letlhogile Modisa said African Swine Fever; a highly contagious disease of domestic and wild pigs has been reported in South Africa.

“Due to this outbreak a ban on importation of live pigs (both domestic, free range and warthogs) and their fresh products from South Africa is hereby imposed,” said the Director of veterinary services-Letlhogile Modisa.

A statement released on the 23rd of May 2019 from the department also advised farmers to confine their pigs in pigsties and report all ill or dead pigs to their local department of veterinary offices or police.

  Meanwhile ASF is recognized by the global veterinary society as one of the major threats to pig production, food security and biodiversity in the world as it is incurable or no cure or vaccine currently exists for the virus and the disease can spread through direct or indirect contact as well as cause high mortality but fortunately cannot infect humans.

Further the virus can persist for a long time in the environment, carcasses and in a variety of swine products.

Its symptoms are; high fever, weakness and difficulty standing, vomiting, diarrhea, red or blue blotches on the skin (Particularly around ears and snout), coughing or labored breathing.

And high proportions of the animals with the disease will die within 10 days.

However a statement from the ministry of South Africa’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries said “The affected areas have been placed under quarantine and the provincial veterinary services are applying the necessary disease control measures.”

Adding that it was investigating the source of the disease and what other farms could be affected.

Yet, the media reports state that the first outbreak outside South Africa’s control zone for ASF was detected in April and were thought to be linked to contact with wild animals.

Then the disease was said to be found on a farm in North West province, killing 32 out of a herd of 36 pigs on a farm in the Ditsobotla district thus North West province of SA with the remaining animals slaughtered.

In Botswana the ministry has not yet confirmed how many pigs have been killed or affected by disease. Modisa said the public will be updated on new developments regarding the situation.

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