African Swine Fever Spreads In Parts Of Kerala: Symptoms, Transmission — All You Need To Know


Waynad and Kannur have become two hotspots for African swine fever (ASF) and Kerala state Animal Husbandry Department and other district officials have ordered the culling of infected pigs as the disease is spreading. Following the recent outbreak, pig farms in both these districts are under strict vigilance, and people working on farms or visiting farms are advised to remain under 24 hours quarantine.

Here is everything you should know about African swine fever:

What Is African Swine Fever (ASF)? 

The US Department of Agriculture defines African Swine Flu as a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and feral swine of all ages. ASF is not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans. It is not transmittable through the consumption of pork meat or is not a food safety hazard.

What Are The Symptoms Of ASF?

As per the information provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs of the UK, the clinical signs of ASF may occur in chronic, sub-acute, or acute forms. The incubation period for ASF is variable but is usually between five and fifteen days.

In the acute form, pigs develop a high temperature (40.5 degrees C or 105 degrees F), then become dull and go off their food. Other symptoms can vary but will include some or all of the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Reddening or darkening of the skin, particularly ears and snout
  • Gummed up eyes
  • Laboured breathing and coughing
  • Abortion, stillbirths, and weak litter
  • Weakness and unwillingness to stand

What Is Classical Swine Fever? Is This Different From ASF?

According to the US Department of Agriculture, Classic Swine Fever is a viral disease that affects pigs that is highly contagious and economically significant. The virus strain, the pig’s age, and the herd’s immune condition all affect how serious the sickness is.

The clinical symptoms of ASF are indistinguishable from those of Porcine Dermatitis and Neuropathy Syndrome, as well as being identical to those of Classical Swine Fever.

What Causes The Transmission Of This Disease?

The European Food Safety Authority, EU has identified the following could be causes for the spread and transmission of ASF in healthy pigs and boar:

  • Contact with infected animals, including contact between free-ranging pigs and wild boars.
  • Ingestion of meat or meat products from infected animals – kitchen waste, swill feed, infected wild boar (including offal).
  • Contact with anything contaminated by the virus such as clothing, vehicles, and other equipment.
  • Bites by infectious ticks.

The movement of infected animals, contaminated pork products, and the illegal disposal of carcasses are the most significant means of the spread of the disease.

Also, there is no threat to human beings from this disease as the transmission is only from animal to animal. 

Where Was It Found First? 

Historically, outbreaks of this disease have been recorded in Africa parts of Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. However, since 2007, several outbreaks of this disease have been found in various parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia both in domestic and wild pigs. 

What Is The Mortality Of This Disease? 

As there is no known cure for this fever the mortality of this disease is 100%. The only way to stop the spread of this disease is by culling the animal found infected. 

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