Following the mysterious death of dozens of pigs in four communities around Freetown, health officials together with the livestock division at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security placed a temporal ban on the sale of pig meat (Pork), in the capital city, which over the weekend returned to the stalls of two Freetown markets. As a result of panic from the public and hog farmers in free range, who suffered great loss in the four communities, a joint media briefing was held by health officials at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) together with livestock officials from the Agriculture Ministry. It’s over two months now and the public is awaiting results to confirm whether indeed the strange illness that killed so many pigs in the four communities is swine fever. Director of EOC, Mohamed Vandy, during the media briefing calmed public fear, noting that the strange illness on the swines was not harmful to humans, but advised that the public stay off pig meat for now and are expecting the cooperation of law enforcers to be alert and vigilant. He said information has leaked that some hog farmers will quickly slaughter an infected pig before it dies, and later the slaughtered meat will find its way to market stalls.
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Speaking to one of the traders at the City Market over the weekend (name withheld), she decided to start her business as a result of theft of her pigs that are on free range rearing. “Indeed, I am aware of the temporal ban, but to be honest I lost some of my pigs to the strange plague and since then no official word has come from Government on the issue”. The lady added because she cannot confine her pigs in a pen, it is difficult for her to keep them and some bad boys in the community steal the pigs at night. Acting, Health Education Manager, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Harold Thomas when contacted, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is responsible to update the public whether the temporal ban has been lifted or not. He quoted Dr. Mohamed Vandy, that, “Yes, the suspected swine fever is no way harmful to humans, but for health safety and security the public is advised to stay off pig meat”.
By Ade Campbell
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