What Causes Umhlume

Umhlume: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Umhlume, also known as African Swine Fever, is a highly infectious viral disease that affects domestic pigs and wild boars. It can have devastating consequences for the pig population, impacting food security and the livelihoods of farmers. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Umhlume is crucial in preventing its spread and protecting the swine industry.

Causes of Umhlume

Umhlume is caused by the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV), which is primarily transmitted through direct contact with infected pigs or through contact with contaminated objects such as feed, equipment, or clothing. The virus can also be spread by ticks or through consumption of contaminated meat from infected animals.

In South Africa, Umhlume has been a recurring problem, with outbreaks mainly associated with the movement of infected pigs or contaminated pork products. Strict biosecurity measures and surveillance are vital in preventing the introduction and spread of the virus.

Symptoms of Umhlume

The symptoms of Umhlume can vary depending on the stage of the disease. Early signs may include fever, loss of appetite, and weakness. As the disease progresses, affected pigs may develop red or purple skin discoloration, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum.

What Causes Umhlume

It is important to note that Umhlume only affects pigs and wild boars. It does not pose any health risks to humans or other animals. However, the economic impact of outbreaks can be significant, leading to trade restrictions for pork products and financial losses for the swine industry.

Treating and Managing Umhlume

Unfortunately, there is currently no specific treatment or vaccine available for Umhlume. Once a pig is infected, the mortality rate is high, reaching up to 100% in severe cases. Therefore, the focus lies on prevention and strict biosecurity measures.

Preventing Umhlume requires implementing robust biosecurity protocols on pig farms. These measures include ensuring proper hygiene, limiting exposure to potential sources of infection, controlling pig movements, and following strict quarantine procedures. Ongoing surveillance and early detection of the virus are also crucial in containing outbreaks.

If an outbreak occurs, affected pigs should be culled to prevent further spread of the virus. Proper disposal of infected carcasses is essential to minimize the risk of contamination.


Umhlume, or African Swine Fever, is a highly contagious viral disease that can have severe consequences for the pig industry. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options is essential for preventing its spread and mitigating its economic impact. By implementing strict biosecurity measures, practicing good hygiene, and ensuring early detection, South Africa can better protect its swine industry and food security.