Western Cape agriculture department confirms African Swine Flu outbreak in pigs in George

An Avian Flu Fever (ASF) outbreak has been reported in George. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

An Avian Flu Fever (ASF) outbreak has been reported in George. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 18, 2024


The Western Cape agriculture department confirmed a new outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in pigs of small farmers on the outskirts of Groeneweide Park, George.

The outbreak was confirmed on February 7 and is the fourth outbreak of this disease in the Garden Route area since 2022.

The department said there had been outbreaks previously in KwaNonqaba and Mossel Bay in 2022 and 2023 which were both resolved; and an outbreak in Thembalethu in 2022 which remains a concern.

“It is estimated that about 45 pigs have died thus far with about 250 pigs remaining in the area. The area has been placed under quarantine and community members have been urged to not remove any pigs or pig products from the area to prevent further spread of the disease,” the department said.

“ASF is a virus that affects pigs and there is no vaccination or treatment currently available for the prevention of the disease. Good biosecurity measures remain the best way to protect the pig industry.”

The ASF is specific to pigs and does not affect humans or other species of animals.

The public is urged to know that pigs slaughtered at abattoirs have undergone meat inspection and pork products found in supermarkets are safe for human consumption.

“Usually, the first signs of an ASF outbreak are the sudden death of pigs,” the department said.

“Still, in some cases, other symptoms can include breathing difficulties, redness of the skin, especially underneath the pig and on the ears, hind leg weakness, and loss of appetite. Occasionally the pig may also have blood in their faeces and their vomit.”

The department calls on all pig owners to implement strict biosecurity to protect their livestock from ASF and to call their nearest State Veterinary Office should farmers have any concerns.

Tips to minimise the spread include:

– All carcasses should be disposed of safely;

– Pigs should be confined to prevent roaming and potentially picking up and spreading the disease;

– Hands, shoes, clothing, and equipment should be sanitised before and after being in contact with a pig, so people do not spread the virus between animals;

– Any meat products should be thoroughly cooked before being fed to pigs; and

– Farmers should confirm that any purchased pigs are bought from known ASF-free herds.

[email protected]