Ukraine still faces threat of swine fever spread

Ukraine still faces threat of swine fever spreadUkraine still sees a threat of the further spread of African swine fever (ASF), a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, according to Deputy Head of the State Veterinary and Biosecurity Service Oleksandr Verzhykhovsky.

"We do not remove the threat [from our radar]," he said.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 22 ASF outbreaks in Ukraine, namely 16 cases involving domestic pigs and five wild boar: four in Kyiv region, 11 in Chernihiv region, two in Rivne region, one in Zhytomyr region, and three in Sumy region, and there was one infected animal in Poltava region, he said. The latest case was registered at a private farm in Chernihiv region on September 5.

According to Verzhykhovsky, five Ukrainian regions have been affected by ASF most: Kyiv region, Chernihiv, Sumy, Poltava, and Rivne regions.

"The affected area is disturbing," he said, noting that four of the regions are neighboring ones.

Verzhykhovsky said that owners of woodland areas had been instructed to completely eliminate wild boar by the end of the year, as these animals are carriers of the disease.

However, the regions are far behind schedule. In particular, Kyiv region has fulfilled its plan by a mere 34%, Sumy region by 23%, Chernihiv by 13%, Rivne by 6%, and Zhytomyr by 3%.

Verzhykhovsky said he doubted that the regions would be able to do everything on time.

"If there has been 3% since the beginning of the year, there will be hard to do 97% by the end of the year," he added.

Early in August 2015 the Cabinet of Ministers allocated almost UAH 45 million for fighting against the disease due to an increase in the number of ASF cases and an outbreak of the disease at a large Ukrainian pig farm. The funds will be spent, among other things, on the elimination of wild boar that are often main ASF carriers.

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar and American wild pigs. With high virulence forms of the virus, ASF is characterized by high fever, haemorrhages in the skin and internal organs, and death in 2-10 days on average. Mortality rates may be as high as 100%.

Pigs usually become infected by direct contact with infected pigs or by ingestion of garbage containing unprocessed infected pig meat or pig meat products. There is no published treatment or vaccine for ASF. This disease is not a human health threat.

Source: UNIAN
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