Press Release 97/16
AFRICAN SWINE FEVER CONTAINED IN COTE D’IVOIRE, SAYS THE UN FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
But, intensive epidemiological surveillance continues
ROME, April 25 --- “The outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF), first reported
in April 1996 in Cote d’Ivoire, has been brought under control and no new outbreak
has been reported in the country since last October,” the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) announced today.
More than 100,000 pigs died or were slaughtered during the outbreak, mainly in the
Abidjan area, where the virus was initially introduced and where 90 percent of Cote
d’Ivoire’s commercial pig breeding is located. Pigs transported by some breeders
and traders caused the disease to spread rapidly through the central and western
regions of the country.
African Swine Fever is a viral disease known in Africa for almost a century. The
virus is extremely resistant to destruction and remains in the infected animal’s
tissues, as well as its bodily fluids, whether the animal dies from the disease or
survives, thus easily spreading the disease. The virus remains viable for a long
time, even in processed meats. Before the outbreak, African Swine Fever had not been
diagnosed in Cote d’Ivoire. The swine population of the country was estimated in
early 1996 at about 400,000.
FAO began work in Cote d’Ivoire in June 1996, immediately following confirmation
of African Swine Fever by an international laboratory and in July launched a $300,000
Technical Cooperation Project in cooperation with the Emergency Prevention System
for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES). The project assisted
the Cote d’Ivoire Veterinary Service to conduct an efficient battle against the disease,
preventing it from spreading to other countries in West Africa.
EMPRESS is an FAO program to promote effective containment and control of the most
serious epidemic livestock diseases as well as newly emerging diseases by progressive
elimination on a regional and global basis through international cooperation involving
early warning, rapid reaction, research and coordination.
FAO also assisted Cote d’Ivoire to establish a system for epidemiosurveillance and
will advise Cote d’Ivoire authorities on how to rebuild pork production incorporating
appropriate sanitary measures.
Pork constituted 15% of the total meat consumed in the country. It was especially
important as the cheapest meat available and was widely used by the poorest segments
of the population.