Podcast: Measures essential to curb African swine fever

This week’s podcast features (from left) Terri-Ann-Brouwers, Dr Naudé Malan, Julian Kanjere, Renate Griessel, Kevin Naidoo, Barry Nel, and Dr Sifiso Ntombela. Photos: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

This week’s podcast features (from left) Terri-Ann-Brouwers, Dr Naudé Malan, Julian Kanjere, Renate Griessel, Kevin Naidoo, Barry Nel, and Dr Sifiso Ntombela. Photos: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Since April 2019, South Africa had 102 African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks. Dr Dorothea Mostert, a production consultant from CS Vet veterinary production consultancy, says that ASF poses a significant risk to small-scale pig farmers in the country, but that these farmers can put measures in place to protect their businesses from the virus.  

She joins the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast this week to discuss these preventative measures that make a huge difference even for the smallest piggery. 

“Good buyer security starts with fencing in the production area. When doing so, you limit the possibility of contact with contaminated sources such as feral pigs, warthog, bushpig and humans, who can carry the virus on their shoes and clothes,” she says.  

Mostert emphasises that human access to piggeries should especially be limited, and if unavoidable, certain measures need to be taken before access is granted.

“Anybody who wants to access the piggery, staff or visitors, should only do so after going through a minimum of a boot change, and a foot dip. A full change in clothes is advisable.” 

Even pig feed needs to be guarded against ASF, as the virus has the ability to persist in feed. Mostert discourages swill feeding and recommends buying your feed from reputable sources. “Also, when storing the feed, do so in a manner that no contamination from the aforementioned sources can take place.” 

Controlling the outbreaks have proven difficult for pig farmers. Mostert says that the virus is difficult to control because it persists in a variety of environments for an extended period. “This makes pinpointing the source of the infection difficult in some outbreak situations. [The] virus can persist in meat, and remain viable on manure, and the underside of the soles of shoes. It can travel with people and pigs right across the country.” 

The ease with which the virus spreads make it crucial for pig farmers to take effective preventative measures. “It is crucial that pig keepers and farmers are educated in biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of disease as well as to get them to understand how disease works.” 

ALSO READ: SAPPO reports largest ASF outbreak on record 

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