Barely a week after about 500 pigs were culled in Kerala’s Wayanad district to prevent the spread of African swine fever detected there, new cases of the disease have been reported from there and Kannur.
About African Swine Fever –
- African swine fever virus (ASFV) is a large, double-stranded DNA virus in the Asfarviridae family.
- It is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that infects and leads to an acute form of hemorrhagic fever in domestic and wild pigs.
- It was first detected in Africa in the 1920s.
- The mortality is close to 100% and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop its spread is by culling the animals.
- ASF is not a threat to human beings since it only spreads from animals to other animals.
- ASF is a disease listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code and thus, reported to the OIE.
- The virus causes a hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in domestic pigs; some isolates can cause death of animals as quickly as a week after infection.
- It persistently infects its natural hosts, warthogs, bushpigs, and soft ticks of the genus Ornithodoros, which likely act as a vector, with no disease signs.
- It does not cause disease in humans. ASFV is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa and exists in the wild through a cycle of infection between ticks and wild pigs, bushpigs, and warthogs.