Swine fever seems contained at farms

Take note – story published 8 years ago

So far this month no new cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed among Latvia’s domestic pig population, however several wild boar carcasses have tested positive for the disease, Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) general director Māris Balodis told Latvian Radio Tuesday.

“So we can say the spread of the disease has been reduced in home-raised pigs,” the chief of the veterinary health authority remarked on the positive trend.

Yet confirmations of infected boar specimens found or hunted down from the wilderness in the declared state-of-emergency zones continue to come in at a weekly average between five and nine animals.

Still, Balodis pointed out that no cases of ASF outside the disease-monitoring and quarantine territories have turned up since it spread to northern Vidzeme province from southeast Latgale province in August.

He warned this was no cause for relaxing the strict prohibitions set in place until October 1 in the state-of-emergency zones and beyond as humans can spread the disease in untold directions and distances in one day’s time.

“The risks are very high and if we can’t keep up the measures we’ve undertaken with the Forestry Service and hunters to cull the woods population in unaffected territories of (western) Kurzeme province, the disease will continue on its paths through Latvia and Europe,” he said.

PVD officials are keeping up their inspections of biosecurity measures taken by local farmers, with the back-up of the State Police if necessary. Balodis declined to predict whether the state-of-emergency would be lifted.

Meanwhile, ERR reported Monday that the first carcass of a wild pig found to have died of ASF was discovered in southern Estonia last week, government veterinary officials have confirmed.

"The infected dead wild pig was found six kilometers from the Latvian border. No domesticated animal has been diagnosed with the disease yet," said Veterinary and Food Board director general Ago Pärtel in a statement. He reiterated calls for strict measures to keep the situation that way.

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