Auditors from the European Commission found that the measures taken in Estonia to stem the spread of African swine fever (ASF) among its wild boar populations and prevent the spread of the disease to domestic pigs to be satisfactory.
The auditors found in their preliminary report that each wild boar hunted in a risk region could carry the ASF virus and consequently all wild boars must be tested for the disease and preventive biosafety measures have to be applied in preserving and handling their carcasses, spokespeople for the Estonian Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) said.
"This means that reduction of the wild boar population density alone is not enough to stop the spread of the disease," explained Ainike Nõmmisto, head of the agency's Animal Health Office. "For this, the overall virus load of the environment must also be reduced, which is why it is very important to bury or remove from the nature the carcasses of dead wild boars."
In the course of the audit, European officials met with the agencies involved in the fight against ASF, visited a meat processing plant, a wild game processing center and one small and one large farm each, as well as familiarized themselves with the country's various hunting districts.
The findings of the audit and the auditors' assessments will be presented in a written report prepared within 20 days of the completion of the mission, after which the competent agencies will be given the opportunity to supplement or correct the report and submit their own proposals for activities in response to the auditors' observations. Thereafter the final report will be drawn up.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla