African Swine Fever is a highly contagious viral disease that affects pigs. The fever has no known treatment. It is the leading killer of pigs worldwide. Currently, the disease has affected pig farmers in Wakiso, Luwero, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kampala, Rakai and Mubende and in the past, it affected farmers in West Nile, Busoga and Teso.
When swine fever strikes a piggery, there is only one likely scenario and that is losing all the pigs because the disease has no cure and spreads fast. This means that prevention is the best.
Below are the tips on curbing the fever.
- Keeping your animals enclosed in the piggery is one of the best ways of controlling this disease. This is because it is highly contagious and if the animals are allowed to loiter around, they may contract it from outside.
- The fever spreads in many ways. It can be transmitted if the animals get into contact with products of other pigs, including dead ones. Therefore, do not allow your pigs to feed on any thing that has pig products. The same rule applies to humans as well. On many farms, the disease is transmitted to the farm by workers who eat infected pork. So, in case of an outbreak in the area, do not carry pork to your farm.
- Ensure that whoever is entering the piggery disinfects their feet. The disinfecting basin or foot-bath should be placed at the entrance. In addition, if possible, have special wear for whoever gets into the piggery. These may include gumboots and overalls.
- Do not give uncooked food to the pigs, especially if it contains pig products. Uncooked food includes cassava or potato peelings.
- If the fever has already entered your farm, slaughter all affected animals and bury the remains far away. You should also bury them deep enough to prevent incidences where they are exhumed by predators.
- Disinfect the piggery that used to keep the affected pigs. Overall, cleanliness and exclusion of your animals from unnecessary intrusion will keep this killer away.
- Do not be tempted to cook and eat the carcass of the affected animal. A single small bone from a dead pig can easily destroy your enterprise.