The Ellembelle District Assembly yesterday began an operation to kill and burn all pigs infected with African swine fever in four communities within the district. 

African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease that affects pigs, and similar to the classical swine fever.

The viruses are distinct and classified in different families.

Some of the symptoms of the disease include vomiting, diarrhoea, reddening or darkening of the skin of pigs.

Other signs are laboured breathing and coughing, abortion, still births and weakness in the pigs.

The four affected communities in the Ellembelle District include Anorkyi, Baku, Ngaletole and Ngalekyi, all farming communities in the area.

The operation was undertaken by the district assembly to help prevent the disease from spreading to other communities in the district and beyond.

The District Chief Executive, Daniel Eshun, who disclosed this to DAILY GUIDE in an interview, mentioned that the operation was carried out in collaboration with the Regional Veterinary Department of the Ministry of Agriculture.

He mentioned that as part of the operation, pens of the infected animals would be disinfected with chemicals to prevent the spread of the disease.

He indicated that prior to the operation, the affected pig owners were sensitised on the operation and debunked the assertion that the farmers would be compensated.

DCE Eshun noted that plans were underway to help the affected farmers to obtain disease-resistant pigs to replace those destroyed and called on the Ministry of Agriculture and other state agencies to come to their aid.

The Ellembelle District Director of Agriculture indicated that so far 1,192 pigs in the four communities in the district had been affected by the disease.

Charles Ekpale, the District Director of Agriculture speaking in an interview with DAILY GUIDE, mentioned that the viral disease was detected in November 2013 and a report was made to his boss in Sekondi in January this year.

Addressing heads of department at meeting last Tuesday in Sekondi, the Regional Director of Agriculture, Victor Oko Nai cautioned farmers, whose pigs had been infected, not to smuggle their pigs to other communities since fresh livestock could be infected.

He reportedly stated that at Anokyi, 512 pigs were infected by the viral disease while 98 pigs belonging to a family was infected by the deadly viral disease.

The Western Regional Epidemiologist, Dr. Rubin Tetteh, told journalists that the disease was not endemic in the region, stressing that communities that had not been affected by the disease could eat pork.

He said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) had put in place remedial measures to avoid the spread of the disease.

He cited disinfection and cleaning of the pens, education of farmers to avoid feeding livestock with waste food from restaurants, as well as observance of the 40-day sentinel period by farmers as some measures that had been put in place.

In a related development, Daniel Kamatu Eshun, District Chief Executive for Ellembelle District, passionately appealed to corporate organisations to support pig farmers whose livestock had been infected with African swine fever, reports the GNA.

Mr Eshun told Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Wednesday that 959 pigs had been infected with the viral disease and that out of 581 pigs at Anochie, 377 had been identified to have been infected.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Ellembelle


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