Agric Minister’s imported pigs spread Africa Swine Flu - Report

BY THEHERALDGHANA.COM - Sep 11, 2019 at 8:24am 100

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Impeccable sources within the Ghana Veterinary Service, have revealed a massive outbreak of the dreaded Africa swine fever disease in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, resulting in the death of lots of pigs in various piggeries in the Western Region.

The Herald is informed that, the recent outbreak, could be attributed to some stock imported into the country by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture under the government’s Rearing for Food and Jobs programme (RFJ).

It was explained that, the Africa swine fever disease, had adequately been eradicated until the new pigs were brought into the country by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Prof. Nurah Gyeile.

It is not yet known, which country the pigs were imported from and which company was awarded the contract and at what cost.

It is also unclear, if the Agric Ministry, engaged the services of experts in the importation, although the University of Ghana Farms, is said to have various pigs, which are disease resistant.

Insiders told The Herald that from what is happening, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), will have to put the country under intense observation to ensure the disease, does not spread across Ghana’s boarders.

Pig breeders, are also said to be in trouble, as they will have to destroy their stocks.

But other sources within the veterinary service were of the opinion the disease might have emerged from the Central Region, where it recently emerged, and a directive was issued against allowing pigs from the region into Western region.

They told The Herald that, the pigs promised under the Rearing for Food and Jobs are to be delivered to the Western region, hence could not be the ones spreading the Africa swine fever disease as claimed.

To him, the disease could have come from eithers pigs secretly transported into the Western Region from the Central Region or many of the pigs are the roaming freely in the communities where the disease was sighted.

But this paper is informed that many veterinary officers are unhappy about situation as many pigs will have to be destroyed in the coming days and unnecessary attention brought on the country.

Meanwhile, Citi FM reports that 17 pigs have so far died from the outbreakin the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis of the Western Region.

The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis and the Effia Kwesiminstim Municipality, have been hit with an outbreak of the Africa Swine Fever.

It is suspected that, the fever has affected the government allocated pigs under the Rearing for Food and Jobs programme.

But, the Head of the Western Regional Veterinary Services Laboratory, Dr. Theophilus Odoom, who confirmed this to Citi News, says the situation is currently under control.

“A farmer brought in a pig from another farm and [we detected it]. Last week, we confirmed the disease and we have been able to put in bio-security measures in place so it doesn’t spread to other farms. African swine flu virus doesn’t have a vaccine so we cannot vaccinate the pigs.”

A letter addressed to the Minister of Agriculture by the Western Regional Agriculture Directorate and sighted by citinewsroom.com indicated that, samples of the dead pigs sent to the National Veterinary Laboratory for analysis tested positive for the fever.

“Under the Rearing for Food and Jobs, Western Region has been allocated pigs but because of this outbreak as ASF we wish to appeal for a replacement of sheep and goats to Western Region since it will take a long time to eradicate the disease in the region.”

The last outbreak of the fever was in the Central Region last year.

The Central Regional Veterinary Services Department had to place a ban on the movement of pigs and piggery products in the region.

In July 2017, outbreaks of the fever were confirmed in the Ashanti and Upper East Regions, which led to the destruction of over 15,000 pigs.

African Swine Fever is a severe viral disease that affects only pigs. It can be spread by live or dead pigs and pork products.

Transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and items such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives, equipment etc, due to the high environmental resistance of ASF virus.

Historically, outbreaks have been reported in Africa and parts of Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

African swine fever was first detected on the African continent in 2012.

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