ASF: Delta Discovery Affects Only Pigs, Says FG

NIGERIA - The Federal Ministry of Health yesterday said the case of swine fever reported in Delta State is a zoonotic disease, which affects only pigs and not humans as widely believed.
calendar icon 10 June 2009
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Reacting to a recent report on the outbreak of swine fever, the Special Assistant (Communications) to the Minister of Health, Mr. Niyi Ojuolape, confirmed the presence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in certain parts of Delta State, as reported by This Day.

He, however, insisted that the ASF is not related to the dreaded A(H1N1) Influenza otherwise known as Swine Fever, which was discovered in Mexico early this year.

According to Mr Ojuolape, "Further to a recent report in the press about the outbreak of Swine Fever in a certain part of the country, the Federal Ministry of Health after due consultations with the Delta State Ministries of Health and Agriculture states as follows:

"We confirm the presence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in certain parts of Delta State. The African Swine Fever (ASF) affects only pigs and given the fact that it is a zoonotic disease, it does not affect humans in any way. It is therefore not related to the A(H1N1) Influenza otherwise known as Swine Fever."

He disclosed that further to the reported outbreak, Delta State Ministry of Agriculture had quarantined the affected piggery and had started culling the affected pigs to prevent the disease from spreading to other pigs.

"We therefore wish to assure the public that there is yet no report of the A(H1N1) Influenza in Nigeria and we are doing our utmost to monitor the events with a view to handling any eventuality effectively," Mr Ojuolape added.

In a related development, the Delta State Government has started an investigation into the reported outbreak of suspected African swine fever (pigs AIDS) at Owvor in Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.

According to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Ogaranya Tabs-Tabowei, told newsmen yesterday in Asaba that samples had been taken from the farm, where the disease was reported for further investigation.

Tabs-Tabowei explained that African swine fever was different from the swine flu, which was reported in Mexico, adding that "there is nothing like swine flu in Delta".

According to him, the swine flu, which was reported in Mexico, affects only human beings and not pigs, while the African swine fever affects pigs only. He said some people in Delta had misconstrued the reported outbreak of suspected African swine fever in the Ughelli area of the state to swine flu.

Mr Tabs-Tabowei said even the reported case of suspected African swine fever had not been confirmed, as the reported case was still under investigation. "The reported outbreak of suspected African swine fever at Owvor in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta is being investigated at the Veterinary Research Institute, Vom near Jos," he said.

He assured residents of Delta, who relish pork, to continue to enjoy the delicacy as meat from pig was safe for consumption. The commissioner advised that in confirmed cases of African swine fever the affected animals should be slaughtered and buried with Lysol or caustic soda.

"After slaughtering the pigs the farm should be allowed to lie fallow for at least six months. Healthy pigs in the farm should be slaughtered and sold to the public for consumption," he said.

Mr Tabs-Tabowei said, "The last two major outbreaks of African swine fever in Nigeria was in 1998 and in 2000 and since then there have been pockets of such outbreak in Delta. One can conveniently say that African swine fever has become a relatively common place disease of pigs in Nigeria."

He said the clinical signs of African swine fever included the reddening of skin of the pig, lying down, loss of appetite, and eventually death. The commissioner said that in severe cases of African swine fever morbidity and mortality could be up to 100 per cent.

According to him, "There is no known treatment for the disease, or to prevent an outbreak. Farmers are advised to adopt certain behavioural changes. Such changes include the application of simple hygiene and bio-security is a routine in the management of our pigs."

Further Reading

- Find out more information on African Swine Fever (ASF) by clicking here.
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