African swine fever hits Lithuania

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click image to zoomwild boar News sources in Europe have reported an outbreak of African swine fever in Lithuania, part of the European Union. A hunted wild boar tested positive to the disease.

A Global Post article said Lithuania has imposed a temporary ban on the movement of live pigs out of the affected areas, “fearing the virus could spread to local farms.” Two non-EU neighboring countries, Russia and Belarus have banned pork products from Lithuania that are not processed thermally as a result of the virus being detected in the country last week.

The Lithuanian government is expected to declare an official state of emergency this week in regions bordering Belarus, which it claims was the source of the virus. Officials also imposed a temporary ban on the shipping of live pigs out of the affected areas, fearing the virus could spread to local farms.

 In addition, all wild boars hunted in these regions (which are close to Poland, another EU-member country) will be incinerated if tests show they carry the virus. The Food and Veterinary Service in Lithuania said 90 percent of the country’s 60,000 wild boars would have to be culled to stop the virus from spreading, according to the Baltic Times.

Interior Minister Dailis Alfonsas Barakauskas said the government will turn to the EU Commission, asking to finance a fence along Belarus' border to prevent the movement of boars. Last year the European Commission rejected Lithuania’s request to pay for a fence to stop wild boars from Belarus crossing the border.

Latvia has banned the import of animal feed from Lithuania as a result of the scare, reports The Baltic Course. The Food and Veterinary Service has ordered several import bans, said Latvian Food and Veterinary Service spokeswoman Anna Joffe. She also asked hunters to be especially careful, and report any suspicious wild boar activities.

Animal feed produced in Lithuania's southeastern regions have been banned, as well as reproductive materials from live pigs, including pig embryos, egg cells and sperm. There also will be tighter control of animal products, especially pork products, on Latvian borders. Vehicles transporting animals will be subject to disinfection.

The Latvian government has agreed to allocate 1.36 million Euros in an effort to keep African swine fever from spreading across its borders.

African swine fever is harmless to humans but deadly to pigs, and presently there is no cure.



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