Agriculture, land reform and rural development (DRDLR) minister Thoko Didiza has announced an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Amathole district on Saturday, where 50 pigs have died.
The World Health Organisation for Animal Health has been notified.
Ngede, Nontshinga and Feni in Centane while Ngquthu and Toleni villages in Ngqamakwe have been identified.
ASF does not affect humans and the consumption of pork is safe, but meat or products from affected pigs can be a source of infection to other pigs.
Didiza said the outbreak occurred in a communal setting that makes movement control and biosecurity between the respective pig herds difficult.
“Control measures currently in place include that all infected pigs should be as far as possible from those that are not and must be housed alone to avoid contact with other pigs in the area to limit the spread of the disease,” Didiza said.
It is reported that the areas where the outbreak occurred has been quarantined and no pigs are allowed to move into, through or out of the area. Follow-up investigations by provincial veterinary services are underway to determine the extent of the outbreak.
The department notes that ASF has had outbreaks in the Free State, North West, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces in the past three years.
The department says it has not yet been determined whether the outbreak in the EC is linked to the outbreaks in other provinces.
“Farmers should therefore ensure that if any swill fed to pigs it is pre-cooked for at least an hour. This will ensure the inactivation of the ASF virus, as well as other diseases of concern,” Didiza said.
ASF kills almost all infected pigs. Common clinical signs are reddening of the ears, bleeding on the skin and difficulty breathing. There is no vaccine or treatment.
ASF is transmitted to pigs by contact with infected wild or domestic pigs and infected soft ticks, contact with people, vehicles equipment or shoes, and eating contaminated food waste, feed, or garbage.
Awareness campaigns have been initiated to inform pig keepers in the affected areas on how the disease is spread and how they can protect their pigs from the virus.
Farmers and pig keepers should and report any sudden illness and deaths of their pigs to the local state veterinary office for swift action to counter the spread of the disease.