ASF: Don warns against African swine fever

A university don, Prof Adebayo Adeniji has warned  against the occurrence of African Swine Fever (ASF) this year.

ASF is a viral disease that threatens domestic pigs and wild boar with a high mortality rate.

The disease is endemic in most South-Saharan African countries and also active in Asia and Europe, according to the flow of Animal Health (OIE) reports.

Adeniji said climate change impact was a big threat to commercial pork and pig production and there were indications the local industry could suffer if it is not prepared to handle  its spread.

In the past decade, ASF has surfaced in several parts of Africa.  The most recent was in Lagos.

Last year, more than 600,000 breeders and matured growers were lost to ASF. It occurred in Oke Aro Farms, the largest pig farmer cluster in West Africa with at least one million pigs.

Other states such as Delta and Abia were also drastically affected with dead animals rising in tens of thousands. New cases of 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 ASF cases are suspected in a new area.

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.

Since 2016, the world has seen 32,265 ASF outbreaks with 832,698 total cases. Pigs raised for commercial markets accounted for 14,327 outbreaks that made 10.1 million hogs susceptible to the disease. In its most recent reporting for December 2020, OIE said there may be outbreaks in 23 countries or territories.

Eight of them are in Europe and include Germany, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine.

Twelve are in Asia: People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Timor- Leste, and Vietnam.  And Four in Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia.

ASF is a transboundary disease, with a 100 per cent  fatality which is highly contagious and has the potential for rapid spread causing serious socio-economic and public health consequences.

No vaccines or treatment is available for ASF. (Thenationonlineng)


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