The Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) has said that the disease that has affected some pig farms in the districts of Rwamagana (in Eastern Province), Kicukiro and Gasabo (in the City of Kigali) is swine erysipelas—a bacterial illness that mainly stems from poor hygiene on the farm.
In a statement, RAB said that the infectious disease causes red lesions on the skin, fever, loss of appetite, difficulties in breathing and walking, and it kills them if not treated on time.
RAB says that the meat of the pig died from the disease should not be eaten, but rather, its carcass should be buried.
The disease can occur on any farm where hygienic conditions are low or if there is an infected pig introduced into the pig herd.
Speaking to The New Times, Jean de Dieu Niyitanga, Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Unit in Rwamagana District said that the disease has so far killed 76 pigs in the district over three weeks.
He indicated that most affected sectors in the districts are Muyumbu, Nzige, Musha, Rubona, and Gishari.
On treatment, he said that its medication includes antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines that are available in the country, adding that the disease is curable when treated on time.
Rwamagana District has 18,000 pigs, according to Niyitanga.
Smallholder farmers are so far the most affected, he explained.
“Delayed treatment can result in the affected pig reaching a stage where cure is not likely,” he warned, saying some farmers lacked knowledge about the disease, and hence delays in the treatment
This is the second outbreak of the disease in about one year following the one in Gisagara District in 2019, which claimed over 106 pigs in less than a month.
RAB urged farmers to quarantine the affected pigs and report the affected farm animals to veterinarians for timely treatment in order to control its spread.
Also, it encouraged farmers to take up insurance policies for their animals.
The outbreak could affect pork production in a country where the population of pigs is estimated at 1.38 million.Follow https://twitter.com/EmNtirenganya