Most bacterial infections tend to have overlapping pharmacological treatment protocols. However, this is not usually the case when it comes to viral infections due to their complexity both in terms of nature and also in the clinical presentation. Observations made in a pig production farm on classical swine fever were made and the findings could give us a glimmer of light in the management of the new corona virus disease.
Classical swine disease is a viral disease affecting pigs caused by the hog cholera virus or the classical swine fever virus and has an incubation period of 3-5 days. Clinical signs usually vary with age of the animal, strain of the virus and other factors. The virus belongs to the pesti family of viruses and the virus is highly contagious.
The pig is only the natural host and the virus can spread via discharges through the nose, urine and feces and the virus enters the host via the mouth in direct contact with affected pigs and can survive in frozen carcasses for long periods of time.
The clinical signs of the disease include difficulty in breathing, coughing and vomiting while mild forms of classical swine fever may have fevers for a period of 1-2 weeks. The disease also generates pneumonia in the affected animals among signs such as inappetence and high fevers in a breeding herd, conjunctivitis- runny eyes, weakness, convulsions and death.
On the other hand, the clinical signs of COVID-19 in humans include fever, tiredness, dry cough, difficulty in breathing and runny nose.
Considering the similarity in the signs and also the incubation periods of the classical swine fever and the corona virus, parallel management of patients could yield positive results.
Classical swine fever compares to corona virus in that both are very contagious viruses and affect the respiratory system of the host.
They also compare in that both have similar clinical signs and symptoms and the causative agents are viruses even though not from the same family.
Both families of the viruses have similar hosts but corona viruses have a wider range of hosts.
Humans and pigs have similar thoracic and abdominal organs but only differ in size for some organs.
In 2018 observations were made in a pig production farm in Kiambu county while trying to generate the management protocols for classical swine fever and when the animals were isolated for a month and fed on a special diet rich in proteins and carbohydrates and observation of farm hygiene, the infected animals recovered with no signs of the disease and gained weight in a time of 14 days.
We can flatten the epidemiological curve probably by taking into consideration of what was done to curb the classical swine fever virus and taking into consideration such similarities, maybe this current situation on COVID-19 in humans could have hidden answers from the management of classical swine fever in pigs.