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Botswana Halts Imports of Pig Products from SA

by 5m Editor
2 February 2012, at 6:56am

BOTSWANA - The government has halted the importation of pigs and their products as well as pig feeds from South Africa as the Mpumalanga Province in that country has been hit with African swine fever that infects pigs.

The South African Veterinary Authorities reported the outbreak of the disease on 13 January, this year also alerting other countries.

Dr Kefentse Motshegwa, a Deputy Director at the Department of Veterinary Services explained that African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and fatal viral disease of pigs that is transmitted from infected animals to others and by fresh pig products. Wild pigs including warthogs carry the virus and it is easily transmitted to domestic transmitted to domestic pigs from the wild by soft ticks.

Dr Motshegwa told Gazette Business that there could be confusion about swine flu and the African swine fever but the two diseases are not the same and are not related. “While Swine flu is caused by an influenza type virus, ASF is caused by African swine fever virus popularly known as genus Asfivirus,“ stated Dr Motshegwa emphasising that the ASF should not cause panic in humans’ health as unlike swine flu, it does not infect a human body.

The public is advised to be on the look out for any signs of the ASF in their domestic pigs which include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, eye discharges and abortions and excessive fluid in body cavities. Pigs are the only domestic animals affected by the disease.

According to Dr Motshegwa, there have never been any recorded cases of ASF locally even though the disease exists regionally. Further laboratory investigation information is expected by the local Veterinary Department from the South African Veterinary Authorities.