Saint Lucia On Alert For African Swine Fever

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by Anicia Antoine

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a deadly viral disease that affects both domestic and feral swine of all ages. While it poses no risk to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans, its discovery in Saint Lucia would have a significant impact on livestock producers, their communities, and the economy.

On July 28, the Dominican Republic reported its first case of African Swine Fever. Acting Chief Veterinary Officer of the Livestock and Veterinary Services Division, Dr. Charmaine Melville, said the region is now on high alert to ensure that this disease remains at bay.

“We are happy that this disease does not presently exist in Saint Lucia. The African swine fever is a viral disease, a hemorrhagic disease, a disease that causes a lot of hemorrhaging in the organs, in the heart, in the spline in the kidneys, and so there is a lot of redness in the animals. The tip of the ears may be red, the abdomen, and the extremities. So it’s one of the diseases we call red disease of pigs.

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“In addition to the redness, you may see the animals will be depressed, they may hurdle together, they may lose their appetite. The females may experience abortion, vomiting, diarrhea, or poor blood circulation so you will see areas begin to turn blue because of the lack of oxygen So one can well imagine the devastating effect this would have on pork production if this disease were to enter.”

According to Dr. Melville, there is currently no treatment or vaccine available for this disease. She said the only way to stop this disease is to depopulate all swine herds that have been infected or have been exposed to it.

Travelers are advised to be cautious and avoid transporting pork products, as the disease can be transmitted through them.

Dr. Melville reiterated the importance of public vigilance in the fight against African Swine Fever.

Farmers are asked to contact their local Extension Office or the Veterinary and Livestock Services Division if they notice any signs of ASF.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.


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