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News 1492 views last update:Jul 25, 2014

African Swine Fever problem growing in Latvia

African Swine Fever related problems appear to get too big for Latvia as the country declared a state of emergency in a second area.

The first wild boar found to be infected with the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus in Latvia was found on June 26. Since then, a total of 26 wild boars and 19 pigs on 11 farms have tested positive for it, and 185 pigs had to be put down.

Earlier in July the emergency regime had been put in place only in Latgale region, that borders on Russia and Belarus. The extension of the emergency quarantine zone means that the extensive borders area with Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania and Russia are now part of the emergency zone. Inside the zone, it is not allowed to move pigs between farms, access is restricted to infected farms and inspectors can order culls immediately.

In addition, the Latvian government approved measures to compensate small farmers who have had to slaughter pigs and extended rights for veterinarians in accessing private property.

The Latvian prime minister Laimdota Straujuma warned of 'major losses' to the farming sector unless the disease is contained. She blamed wild boar crossing in from Russia for Latvia's problems with ASF.

The most recent outbreaks were reported from Dagdas county, Kraslavas county and Valkas county, last week. Four of these were wild boars – three of them already dead and a fourth one had to be culled. In the case of farmed pigs, a total of 134 animals were found susceptible, out of which ten cases were reported. Out of the ten affected pigs, six animals were found dead. The remaining 128 pigs were destroyed.

To date, inspectors have checked 1,668 farms, of which 244 contained one or more pigs. In total, 678 samples were tested.

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