Swine fever claims 3000 pigs

A TOTAL of 2,896 pigs have died in North Western Province from November 2013 to date following the outbreak of the highly contagious viral African swine fever, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Wylbur Simuusa has revealed.

And Mr Simuusa has banned the movement of pigs and pig products into and out of North Western Province.

Mr Simuusa said of the 2,896 pigs that had died 1,500 were in  Kasempa, 850 Mufumbwe, 146 in Chavuma and 250 and 150 pigs from Zambezi and Kabombo respectively.

He was speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday.

Mr Simuusa said the contagious viral disease which was  originally only in Kasempa and Mufumbwe had spread to Kabompo, Zambezi and Chavuma districts owing to movement of pigs and pork products at local slaughter slabs.

“In view of this outbreak, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has with immediate effect banned the slaughter of pigs at slaughter slabs in affected districts,” he said.

Mr Simuusa added that his ministry had also banned the movement of pigs and pig products from one area to another within the affected province.

He said the ministry has set up biosecurity check points between Solwezi and Kasempa which included farm inspections to ascertain the presence or absence of the disease.

“The measures are in pursuant of the Animal Health Act No 27 of 2010 of the laws of Zambia and are intended to guard against spread of this disease to other areas of the country,”

“It is therefore an offence to move pigs and pig products into and out of North Western Province,” Mr Simuusa said.

He said the ministry would only consider slaughtering the pigs in the province after all the measures put in place completely failed.

Mr Simuusa explained that the African Swine Fever was highly contagious disease that could kill 90 to 100 per cent of the affected pigs in particular area.

“The disease does not affect human beings but has devastating effects on the economy of the farmers and the agriculture sector in general. It is a noticeable disease that has to be reported to the nearest veterinary office,” Mr Simuusa said.

And Director of Veterinary Department in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr Joseph Mubanga appealed to the farmers in all the affected areas to adhere to the measure put in place by the ministry. Dr Mubanga said there was need for the affected farmers in the province to work hand in hand with the ministry through his department to curb the spread of the disease.

“The only way we can prevent the disease is by stopping the movement of pigs in and out of the province and also within the districts,” he said.