Swine fever prompts culling of 119 domestic pigs

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A farm in Ranka county of Gulbene region in Latvia's east had to slaughter 119 pigs due to the outbreak of the African swine fever (ASF), reported LETA Friday.

The Latvian Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) representative Ilze Meistere said that the farm is now taking all necessary measures to clear the farm from the infection, as well as conducting an inquiry as to how the disease got there.

The previous case of ASF in domestic pigs was in the Gulbene region as well, with the farm having to cull 142 pigs.

Meistere said that ASF keeps spreading among wild boar. According to data on September 23, so far this year African swine fever has been found in 816 wild boars in 205 counties in 64 regions, as well as in two cities in Latvia – Rezekne and Plavinas.

This has been the third case this year when ASF, which is thought to be spreading to Latvia's western Kurzeme region, is found in domestic pigs.

A quarantine and protection zone has been established in the Ranka county in Gulbene region and Varini county in Smiltene region, in a three-kilometer area around the farm. The quarantine and monitoring zone has been established in a ten-kilometer area around the affected farm.

The ASF outbreak started in Latvia in June 2014 near the border with Belarus.

African swine fever is an extremely dangerous and contagious virus 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.

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