Following the recent outbreak of suspected African Swine Fever in four Communities in Freetown, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has cautioned the public to stay away from eating dead pigs, as the cause of death of these pigs is yet unknown, but however stated that the disease does not pose any public health threat, as it cannot transfer to humans. This was made known at a press briefing on Monday 22nd October at the Conference Hall of the Emergency Operation Centre on Wilkinson Road in Freetown.
While addressing journalists, Director at the Directorate of Health Security and Emergencies in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Mohamed Vandi has said that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation is concerned on the sporadic occurrence of suspected swine fever in four communities in Freetown (Moa Wharf, Kanikay, Kroo Bay and the Kissy Dump Site (Bomeh) as the country is moving towards One Health, as it seeks the health of both humans and animals; thereby preventing and respond to any disease that affects both humans and animals and of public health concern.
Dr. Vandi cautioned that there is no cause for concern as there has not been any prove as to whether the suspected African swine fever can cause illness in humans, but however warned that. He reiterated that there has not been any instance in which the African swine flew has transferred from pigs to humans, even in countries with confirmed cases of African swine fever.
“African swine fever affects pigs and it cannot transfer to the human population because it is not classified as a zoonotic disease”, Stated Dr. Vandi.
He observed that pig farmers now fast-kill pigs that have already shown signs and symptoms of the suspected African swine fever, which he noted is a bad practice and thus puts the health of other pigs at risk.
Dr. Vandi continued that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry have heightened surveillance in the affected communities and samples shipped out of the country to ascertained as to whether the disease calming the lives of pigs as a result of the suspected swine fever or otherwise, adding that they were going to embark on a training exercise for the MoHS Community Health Workers and the MAF Community Animal Health Workers to jointly engage these affected communities. “As it stands, we are yet to now if the affected pigs are from free range pig firming or those that are in pug pen, all of that we need to know to further plan and protect the lives of other pigs”, Fumed Dr. Vandi.
He stressed that the disease is of no public health threat to human, as the disease is not a zoonotic disease, but however warned the general public to refrain from eating dead pigs or even pigs from the market for now as one can’t ascertain the one the poke that is healthy or not.