Another outbreak of African swine fever in southern Latvia

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A second outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) among domestic pigs this year has been registered in a farm in western Latvia, the Latvian Food and Veterinary Service said.

The latest ASF outbreak has been registered in Strautini farm in Kursisi county, Saldus region.

The Food and Veterinary Service said it was taking the appropriate measures to contain the disease. The four pigs in the infected farm will be culled, and an epidemiological investigation has been launched to establish how the pigs had got the disease.

A quarantine zone has been established, and biosafety measures in nearby farms will be scrutinized.

This is the second ASF outbreak among domestic pigs registered in Latvia this year. The first outbreak was registered on June 12 in a farm with 165 pigs in Jaunsvirlaukas county, Jelgava region, southern Latvia.

Before that, the last time ASF was found in domestic pigs in Latvia was in October 2017.

So far this year, ASF has been found in 540 wild boar, who are assumed to be the main transmitters of the disease, though it can also be spread by other means.

The first ASF outbreak started in Latvia in June 2014 not far from the border with Belarus, with wild boar believed to have crossed the border. As reported at the time by LSM, Agriculture Minister Jānis Dūklavs said the disease must not be allowed to become endemic in Latvia, but it has appeared many times every year since then, resulting in the culling of thousands of pigs and wild boar, and the areas affected cover the whole country, not just the eastern border.

African swine fever is an extremely dangerous and contagious viral infection affecting pigs. If an infected pig is found in a farm, all pigs in the particular farm have to be culled, which means big losses for farmers. It is not transmittable to humans, though it can be spread by humans on shoes and clothes for example. It is illegal to sell meat from culled pigs.

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