African Swine Fever will be here for years

This year, 29 wild boar have already tested positive for African swine fever (ASF) and the infection keeps spreading in Latvia unabated, Edvins Olseviskis, director of the veterinary supervision department of the Latvian Food and Veterinary Service (PVD), said on public radio Wednesday.

The disease is highly contagious and deadly to domestic pigs, but is harmless to humans.

Nevertheless it has the potential to wreak havoc within the pig farming industry and much of the country was put on a state of emergency last year after infected boar brought the disease across the border from Belarus for the first time. 

The representative of the veterinary authority indicated that last year ASF was found in 217 wild boar in Latvia.

"I definitely cannot say that the ASF outbreak is slowing down. I could say that the ASF outbreak has subsided in pig farms - the last case there was recorded on September 17. There were 32 cases in total," Olsevskis said.

Olsevskis said that hunting restrictions, like a ban on the use of hunting dogs, remain effective.

Olsevskis said that most probably Latvia will have to live with the ASF threat for at least three years. "The existing restrictions will remain in force. Currently, we are more concerned with preventing the disease from spreading to new territories because of some careless people," the PVD official said.

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