Health Matters Life

African Swine Flu Not Contagious to Humans

The African swine flu epidemic is affecting livestock pigs in Indonesia. However, no need to worry because this African swine flu is not transmitted to humans.

African swine flu is also known as African Swine Fever (ASF), a disease that attacks pigs. This disease is caused by a DNA virus from the Asfarviridae family.

Transmission of this virus can occur from live pigs, dead pigs, livestock pigs, wild pigs, and other pig products. Transmission can also be through contaminated feed because of the high environmental resistance.

African swine flu is not transmitted to humans. Until now there has been no case of African swine flu that attacks humans.

“African swine flu is not a health risk for humans,” wrote an official statement from the World Organization for Animal Health.

In pigs, this flu can cause symptoms and clinical signs to be deadly. Symptoms can also vary depending on the type or species of pig and the severity of the virus.

At an acute level, African swine flu is characterized by symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, moody, and loss of appetite, bleeding in the skin (skin redness of the ears, stomach and legs), miscarriage, vomiting, diarrhea, and death within 6-20 day. The mortality rate at this stage reaches 100 percent.

At the sub-acute and chronic levels are generally caused by viruses with low malignancy. Symptoms appear in pigs that are weaker than the acute stage. The mortality rate is also lower around 30-70 percent.

Until now there is no vaccine that can reduce African swine flu.

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As a result of this African swine flu not only affects pigs, but also causes production and economic losses.

A number of countries have already contracted African swine flu such as Cambodia, China, Vietnam, South Korea, North Korea, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines.

In Indonesia, an African swine flu estimated to attack 27 thousand pigs in North Sumatra has been destroyed. According to the Medan Animal Health Service, up to now around 1,000 to 2,000 pigs are estimated to die every day from African swine flu.

Fadjar Sumpung, an official at the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, told AFP that laboratory tests had recorded evidence of African swine fever in 16 districts and cities in North Sumatra.

“That has never happened in Indonesia before,” he said.

The UN Food and Agriculture Agency said it is working with the government on prevention, but the plague in Indonesia has unique challenges.

Unlike in China, pigs are farmed, reared, and processed in factory-like conditions. But in Indonesia most pigs are raised in backyards or on small farms and are sold in the market. This condition causes the virus to spread more easily.