S.Africa says pig cull halts swine fever outbreak

SOUTH AFRICA - South Africa has implemented a massive culling programme that has helped stop an outbreak of classical swine fever spreading across the country, the agriculture minister said on Tuesday.
calendar icon 29 March 2006
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The disease was detected in South Africa's Eastern Cape province near the coastal city of Port Elizabeth earlier this month and infected areas were quarantined.

Last year, classical swine fever affected two pig farms in the Western Cape province.

Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza said in a speech to parliament the outbreak has had a big impact on food security and farm income, with 106,000 pigs culled so far.

"This was however offset by the department's efforts in controlling the outbreak and preventing it from spreading to other provinces, thus averting a national disaster," she said.

Didiza said the budget for swine fever control would increase to about 100 million rand in the 2006/07 financial year. South Africa spent 34 million rand to contain the outbreak last year.

South Africa generally compensates farmers for livestock culls.

Also known as hog cholera, classical swine fever only affects pigs but can be spread through contact, by farm visitors and in frozen or partially cooked food. It is often spread through kitchen waste served to pigs.

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