African swine fever spreading herd to herd in Vidzeme

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African swine fever (ASF) continues its spread among the wild boar herds of eastern and northern Latvia, the head of the state Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) Māris Balodis told LTV news program Rīta Panorāma Thursday morning.

The latest confirmation of ASF came from two carcasses found in Kocēni county of northeastern Vidzeme province, where the disease had not been seen before. As the density of the wild boar population in the woods of Vidzeme is even higher than in southeast Latgale, where it was first detected last June, Balodis warned that the virus was not likely to disappear from the regions anytime soon.

So far this year 137 cases of infection with ASF have been confirmed in wild boar specimens either hunted down or found fallen in the forests. PVD inspectors have observed that the virus seems to be spreading to entire herds and then passing on to whole other herds, as several carcasses now tend to turn up all at once.

Meanwhile the PVD director vowed that state veterinary health inspectors would soon increase their examinations of how well sanitary quarantine measures are being observed by domestic pig farms in the affected regions.

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