Officials compare notes on African Swine Fever

An international meeting in Riga June 1-2 discussed ways to try to prevent the further spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) among pigs, three years after it first arrived in Latvia.

The international conference on control of the disease was held at the Ministry of Agriculture.

Participants included the Agriculture Ministers of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland, plus representatives of veterinary services from numerous other countries and the European Commission.

"The participants in the conference in Riga shared their experience on measures to control ASF spreading and discussed topicalities related to elimination of ASF," a release from the Latvian Agriculture Ministry said.

"Participants in the international conference came to a conclusion that a natural spreading of ASF among the population of wild boars is much slower as compared with the human factors that can accelerate the spreading risk of the virus."

Reduction of wild board populations and the education of hunters and members of the public about the risks of spreading the disease were key - though far from new - measures that should be taken, the conference concluded.

Jānis Dūklavs, the Latvian Minister of Agriculture said: ”The conference was basically a discussion among professionals. Just the experience of professionals was decisive here... It is important that we agreed on the readiness of all the States to share information, as African swine fever is not the problem of one single State.”

African Swine Fever first appeared in Latvia in June 2014. Despite Duklavs' attempts to control the spread since then, including the declaration of a state of emergency on more than one occasion, it has since been recorded across a wide swathe of the country and tens of thousands of pigs have been culled.

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