An outbreak of African swine fever in Nigeria’s largest pig farm co-operative in the south-west of the country has been confirmed.

It is the first time in 12 years that the highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs has hit the West African country.

Although it is harmless to humans, the disease can kill pigs within a few days, and the fatality rate can be up to 100%, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

One farmer told the BBC it had killed more than 300,000 pigs since the outbreak began a few months ago.

“Around late February we noticed that pigs were dying in some parts of the farm and it started spreading when we ran a test, it was confirmed that we were dealing with African swine fever,” Ayo Omirin said.

Oke Aro farm, a co-operative settlement managed by the Lagos State government, is regarded as one of the biggest pig farms in West Africa.

It provides a source of livelihood to more than 3,000 people who struggle to meet the demands of more than 50 million consumers in the region.

Mr Ayo says the outbreak has affected 99% of the pig pens.

Jide Lawal, the public relations officer for Lagos State’s agricultural ministry, says efforts have been made to show the stockmen how to protect their pigs.

The state government had sent a team to fumigate Oke Aro to reduce the infection, he said.

“We have also given the farmers palliatives to cushion the effect of their losses, we have distributed maize and sorghum-feeds for pigs to the farmers as relief materials,“ he added.

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