African Swine Fever

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    In News

    • Recently, African Swine Fever has been confirmed for the first time, at a private pig farm in Kerala, after more than 15 pigs on the farm had died due to the disease in the last ten days.

    About African Swine Fever (ASF)

    • Cause: Large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family.
      • Only virus with a double-stranded DNA genome known to be transmitted by arthropods.
      • Affects domestic & wild pigs.
    • Symptoms: Includes weight loss, intermittent fever, respiratory signs, chronic skin ulcers & arthritis. Acute forms are characterised by anorexia, loss of appetite & haemorrhages in the skin.
    • Transmission: Through natural hosts (warthogs, bushpigs & ticks) acting as vectors & by direct/indirect contact with infected pigs, their faeces & body fluids.
    • Vaccination: No approved vaccine yet.
    • Geographical Distribution: First detected in Kenya in 1909 & currently found in Asia, Europe & Africa.
    • Public Health Risk: Not risky for humans.

    Concerns

    • Extremely high potential for transboundary spread.
    • Can hamper global food security & household income.

    Preventive Steps

    • Application of classic sanitary measures, early detection & humane killing of animals.
    • Thorough disinfection, stricter biosecurity norms & restricted supply from affected areas.
    • Proper scanning & guarding of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries & Reserve Forests.
    • Preventing wild pig populations from leaving their habitats.
    • Careful culling & disposal of carcasses under biosafety guidelines.

    World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

    • Intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide.
    • Established as Office International des Epizooties (OIE) in January 1924 & got its current name in May 2003.
    • Recognition: As a reference organisation by the World Trade Organization.
    • Members: 182 countries in 2018.
    • Headquarters: Paris
    • Finances: Compulsory annual & voluntary contributions.

    Source: TH