April 28, 2020 / 12:19 PM / a month ago

African swine fever kills 61 pigs in northern Namibia-gov't

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Northern Namibia has been hit by an outbreak of African swine fever that has so far killed 61 pigs and infected nearly 200 animals, a government veterinary official said Tuesday.

African swine fever is so far harmless to humans but it is highly contagious and deadly in pigs, causing diarrhoea, vomiting, coughing, haemorrhages on the skin and severe mental distress.

An global outbreak has nearly killed half of China’s pigs since it was first found there in August 2018. It has also devastated hog herds across Europe, especially in intensive farms where the opportunities for breeding disease are greater.

Josephat Peter, a state veterinarian based in the Omusati region some 516 kilometres north of the capital Windhoek, said the outbreak there was discovered last week.

“So far the disease has killed 61 pigs with close to 200 more reported to have contracted the disease,” Peter said.

Currently, there is no vaccine for African swine fever or drugs to treat it, so the only available policy responses are usually killing potentially affected pigs en masse.

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by Tim Cocks and Louise Heavens

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