UN issues warning about African Swine Fever
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have
called on the European Union (EU), Russia and the Ukraine to take urgent
preventive measures against the outbreak of African Swine Fever in the Caucasus
According to the Rome-based FAO, African Swine Fever (ASF) risks spreading
from Georgia, as the disease has become deeply entrenched in Georgia and also
been reported in northern Armenia and near the capital
It is certain that the epidemic in Georgia
is the source of the outbreaks in Armenia, FAO said.
"The spread of
the African Swine Fever virus to the Caucasus region poses a very serious animal
health risk and could lead to a dramatic situation," FAO chief veterinary
officer Joseph Domenech said in a statement.
"Without a more
vigorous surveillance and disease control strategy the virus could become
endemic in the Caucasus and could eventually make its way to other
"The EU, Russia, the Ukraine and other countries have a
serious problem on their doorsteps that needs to be urgently addressed," he
The first case of African Swine Fever in the Caucasus was recorded in Georgia
in June and has spread rapidly, affecting 52 of 65 districts while more than
68,000 pigs have died of the virus or been culled.
outbreaks have been reported since the end of August and it seems likely that
the virus is spreading, the FAO said.
"If both countries do not
control the virus, there is a real risk that they might lose most of their pig
population," Domenech warned.
ASF poses no danger to humans, but there are no vaccines or drugs available
to prevent or control the infection, which can wipe out entire pig populations
and has a serious impact on food security and livelihoods.
infected animals or animals at risk and movement control are essential measures
to contain the virus. The FAO said it is planning to provide training and
equipment to Georgia and Armenia to help them increase
In Europe, the disease is only endemic on the island of
FAO aims to strengthen veterinary services through training and the provision
Public awareness campaigns are required to involve the
public in disease control.
"The drastic reduction of veterinarians
in Georgia, lack of transport at all levels, insufficient surveillance and
monitoring programmes, poor bio-security and uncontrolled swill feeding are
issues that need to be urgently addressed," FAO veterinary expert Klaus Depner
â€¢ Food & Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations (FAO)
â€¢ European Union
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