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African swine fever returns to Kenya, Ivory Coast

African swine fever has been confirmed in domestic pigs in Kenya and Ivory Coast.

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Michael Rayback |

Disease returns to two African countries after prolonged absence in domestic pigs

After a prolonged absence, African swine fever (ASF) has been confirmed in domestic pigs in two more African countries — Kenya and Ivory Coast — bringing the continent’s total states affected so far this year to five.

First cases of ASF worldwide were formally recognized and recorded in Kenya more than 100 years ago, and the disease has now returned to the East African state after an absence of more than two years.

According to an official report from Kenya’s agriculture ministry to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the ASF virus was detected after 15 pigs of a herd of 32 animals died at a farm in late August. Located in Uasin Gishu county in the west of the country, the affected premises is a semi-intensive farm. The pigs were fed on wheat and swill from a hotel and kitchen, a factor that is thought to have brought in the infection, along with introduction of new animals, the widespread practice of free-range rearing of animals, and fomites.

There were “many reported cases of mortalities” among pigs in the area during September, reports the agriculture ministry. Reported symptoms included congestion and hemorrhages of visceral organs and serosal surfaces, particularly of the kidneys, spleen, and heart. The presence of the virus was confirmed at the end of last month by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Veterinary authorities in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire have recently reported to the OIE three outbreaks of ASF in Montagnes. This district is in the west of the country and borders the West African states of Liberia and Guinea. The outbreaks occurred between July 13 and August 3. The introduction of the virus is attributed to the same sources as in Kenya, along with unregulated on-farm slaughter and informal trading of live animals.

Mortality attributed to ASF wiped out approximately 2,000 pigs in a cluster of outbreaks around Bangolo, and 7,000 more that formed a village herd in Kouibly, as well as the majority of another informal group of almost 3,000 pigs in Duékoué.

The last recorded ASF outbreak in Côte d’Ivoire was in August 2018.

5 African states report ASF so far in 2019

These latest outbreaks represent the most recent occurrences of ASF in East and West Africa, but the disease has also been confirmed this year in Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Also in West Africa, Ghana’s first cases of the disease were reported by local media around one month ago, in an area that borders Côte d’Ivoire.

At around the same time, South Africa’s most recently reported outbreak was at a farm in Northern Cape Province, but there have also been outbreaks since April 2019 in the regions of Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Free State, and North West Province. So far, all these confirmed outbreaks have been outside the country’s ASF Control Zone, where commercial pig production is located.

In August, the animal health agency of Zimbabwe reported the country’s first ASF cases in Mashonaland Central. These followed a single outbreak of the disease in another region in January of this year.

View our continuing coverage of the African swine fever outbreak.

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