ASF in the Western Cape: Mortalities and spreading of virus low

Source: SAPPO Weekly Update, 5 March 2021, photo credit: NEXT IAS

It is still unclear what the origin of the ASF outbreak in the Mfuleni settlement near Cape Town Airport was, says SAPPO’s Dr Peter Evans.

“One theory is that people returning from their Christmas holiday could have brought with them infected pigs or pork products. There are about 150 small farmers who farm with about 5 000 pigs in this particular small area. The Western Cape government’s animal health officials have already visited 104 of the farmers. The virus was only detected on two farms where 170 pigs died.

“The outbreak raises many questions as to why the virus is spreading so slow. It could be that this is a less virulent/infectious strain. As theft of pigs is an issue in the area, farmers have high security measures to ensure that their pigs are not stolen, which may also play a role.

“The outbreak again emphasised the complexity of controlling and managing ASF in South Africa. Together with the government, we will have to rethink our ASF prevention and implementation strategy, for instance how we are going to dispose of dead pigs in future,” Dr Evans said.

The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.