African Swine Fever Derails Pig Rearing in Gulu

UGANDA - Despite pig farming being a quick economic venture, farmers in Gulu district cannot engage in pig rearing any more following an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the district in the middle of last year.
calendar icon 13 July 2011
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According to the district Naads Coordinator, Joseph Komakech, the viral disease which started in July last year has killed over 80 pigs in the municipality alone. Mr Komakech said they have been prompted to stop farmers from procuring pigs until the outbreak is contained.

"Farmers who had chosen piggery now have to identify different projects because procuring pigs will be a waste of time and resources at the moment," Mr Komakech said. The District Veterinary Officer, Dr Tony Aliro explained that the disease has since spread to all the sub-counties in the district.

"We have failed to contain the outbreak because the public has failed to respect the quarantine imposed on transportation of pigs out of Odek Sub- County where the disease was first reported," Dr Aliro said. He attributed the continued movement of pigs to lack of personnel in the veterinary department coupled by the high demand for pigs in Gulu Town.

He added: "In Awach Sub -County alone, records indicate that over 50 pigs died from May to date." Dr Aliro said the disease is highly contagious, and spreads rapidly in pig populations by direct or indirect contact. But cases of the disease have not yet been reported in Patiko, Palaro and Layibi.

ASF, against which there is currently no vaccine, is a devastating haemorrhagic fever of pigs that causes up to 100 per cent mortality. The district veterinary officer says there is ongoing research on African swine fever to find out why the disease has persisted for long. Dr Aliro said the research is being conducted by a team from ministry of Agriculture, Uganda Wild Life authority and Sweden.

He said: "The team captures wild pigs in rural areas, collars them and has them watched for a period of three months." They want to find out if domestic pigs interact with wild pigs since wild pigs are carriers of the viral disease. He said the wild pigs will be monitored through computer having been collared with a Global Positioning System, GPS.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on African swine fever by clicking here.
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