Further ASF outbreaks in 3 African countries

Further ASF outbreaks in 3 African countries

Michael Rayback | Bigstock.com

New cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been reported in South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

Losses of pigs are reported to be mounting in the East African state of Tanzania, and African swine fever (ASF) cases are suspected in a new area.

According to the latest official notifications to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the number of confirmed outbreaks has risen to three. More than 19,000 pigs have been directly involved in the outbreaks in two northern regions.

Latest to be affected are herds of around 7,800 animals in the Kahama district of Shinyanga, and 2,300 more in Geita, which is in the Mwanza region. All of the pigs belonged to backyard herds that are kept indoors, according to the livestock ministry.

Sharing of tools and equipment is the likely source of infection in the first of the most recent outbreaks. It was confirmed in the same district as the country’s first outbreak in early January.

ASF confirmed in South African backyard herd

At the end of January, presence of the ASF virus was confirmed in backyard herd in South Africa after seven of the animals died. The affected premises was in Midvaal in Gauteng province, according to the official report to the OIE. The agriculture department does not record the fate of the remaining animals.

This latest outbreak brings South Africa’s total so far to 34, directly impacting a total of just over 15,000 pigs. All have occurred outside the country’s ASF Control Zone.

The first outbreak in this series was in April 2019. Since then, 21 outbreaks have been confirmed in Gauteng — including at a farm with approximately 9,000 pigs — seven in Mpumalanga, and isolated cases in three more provinces.

Suspected ASF deaths in new area of Uganda

Suspected cause of the mortality of around 120 pigs in northern Uganda is ASF, reports Daily Monitor.

However, farmers are reluctant to register deaths in their pig herds, so the mortality could be much higher, according to a local community leader. He said that the spread of the infection is likely due to the local custom of allowing pigs to range free during the dry season.

Some farmers reported that affected pigs were showed breathing problems before succumbing to the disease.

While the regional veterinarian investigates the situation, the community leader urged pig owners to round up and contain their animals. People were advised by the veterinarian to separate healthy and sick pigs, and to avoid buying animals from infected areas.

This month, ASF was suspected as the cause of death of between 700 and 1,500 pigs in Otuke district, which is also in northern Uganda.

In recent weeks, cases of ASF have also been reported in the West African state of Togo.

According to the OIE, three more African states have new or ongoing ASF outbreaks — Namibia, Nigeria and Zambia.

Looking ahead, pork demand is expected to rebound in most regions of the world. However, a new report forecasts that ASF and COVID-19 will to continue to affect global pig meat production in 2021.

View our continuing coverage of the global African swine fever situation.