Outbreak ‘anything but contained’, warns vet health chief

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While there have been no confirmations from any new places outside the already declared territories, infected wild boar specimens continue to be confirmed in lab results, prompting the veterinary health authority to warn the African swine fever outbreak is “anything but contained,” Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) head Māris Balodis told LTV morning news program Rīta Panorāma Tuesday.

“Infections are definitely still happening and will continue,” Balodis said.  

He also remarked that the government’s call for intensified hunts has not sufficiently reduced wild boar density in the government-declared state-of-emergency areas.

“There’s certainly no chaotic, intensive shooting going on and probably won’t be. In any case we’re looking at other ways to try keeping the population down, like prohibiting their feeding-up during the wintertime. Hunting culls alone are obviously not going to be sufficient,” he explained.

As for domestic pigs, Balodis said that all farmers who have registered their pigs have received or will receive their compensations.

PVD inspectors have completed their grueling round of disinfection visits at all homesteads in the affected areas, but are already preparing for a new found of visits in 40 days’ time.

On Monday the Agriculture Ministry announced that the European Commission had reviewed and approved Latvia's proposed ruling to ease the transport of live pigs and pork products outside the affected areas inside the national territory. The amended regulation will enter effect upon publication in the EU’s Official Journal.

As of current counts, ASF has been confirmed at 21 domestic farms, as well as in altogether 90 wild boar specimens. A total of 521 domestic pigs have been either ordered culled or voluntarily slaughtered.

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