Another infection for Latvian farms to deal with

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At least two farms in Latvia might be affected by 'Q fever', a rare infection affecting both livestock and humans, reported Panorama, the evening news program of Latvian public television channel LTV1 Thursday night.

According to the TV report, there are suspicions that the disease has hit two large farms in the western region of Kurzeme and the northern region of Vidzeme. Each of them has more than 200 head of livestock.

Maris Balodis, the head of the Latvian Food and Veterninary Service, said in an interview with Latvia's LNT commercial TV channel on Friday that Q fever can be comparatively easily beaten by antibiotics.

The head of the veterinary authority said that the symptoms of the disease are similar to those of flu. "The symptoms, at least at the onset, are similar to flu symptoms. This disease affects both animals and people, and the bacterium causing the fever can be found across the world, except New Zealand where it has not been found. The bacteria can be found in the environment and are transmitted by ticks and rodents," said Balodis.

He also indicated that the presence of the disease at the farms has not been confirmed as yet, as only antibodies, but not the bacteria have been found. "For the time being, there are only suspicious about the disease, but anyway, we have imposed a number of restrictions on the farms," Balodis said.

In his words Q fever can be relatively easily beaten by antibiotics and there is also a vaccine available against the infection.

Latvian pig farmers are already struggling to contain outbreaks of African Swine Fever, which has seen large swathes of countryside put into quarantine over the last year.

More information about the infection can be read here.

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