Namibia: African Swine Fever Contained in Omusati

The African swine fever that has killed close to 300 pigs in parts of the Omusati region, with an enormous and costly impact on small-scale farmers in the region has been successfully contained. The Chief Veterinarian Officer, Dr Josephat Peter in the region said they have not reported any cases of African fever since last week. Peter said residents of Omusati successfully adhered to the biosecurity measures in place to prevent the introduction of the virus into big herds. Since the swine fever initially emerged with the first reported case recorded on 13 March, outbreaks were reported in five constituencies of Okalongo, Ogongo, Tsandi, Outapi and Anamulenge involving 32 households. More than 262 pigs have been culled to curb the spread of the virus.

The fever is spread through contaminated pork products or clothes of people working with infected animals.

"It does not travel through the air, but it is long-lived and hard to get rid of, which farmers are learning the hard way," Peter told New Era.

He stated there is no vaccine against African swine fever at the moment.

He called on farmers to see to it that pigs are properly housed with no contact with stray or wild pigs and avoid feeding pigs with contaminated feed.

Peter said some farmers destroyed their dead pigs before they could take samples for laboratory tests, and it was only on 24 March that samples were taken and sent to the central lab in Windhoek, which confirmed the disease the next day. The veterinarian advised farmers to immediately report any suspected infections to the local veterinary office.

They should also disinfect their pigsties and not move pigs from or to an affected area until the outbreak is over. "Although the disease does not affect human beings, people should refrain from eating meat from a pig suspected to have died of African swine fever or an unknown cause, as the consequences of this is not known," he discouraged.

A previous outbreak of the fever was experienced in the region in 2009.

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