Scientist: New swine fever wave likely

Photo is illustrative. (Urmas Luik/Postimees/Scanpix)
5/19/2016 11:35 PM
Category: Business

As the virus causing swine fever began to spread through the forests of Estonia more quickly in May last year, scientists are currently waiting for the next new wave of swine fever to hit, said Estonian University of Life Sciences professor of veterintary epidemiology Arvo Viltrop at the pig farmer information day in Rakvere on Thursday.

EMÜ’s study last year showed that in the case of nearly every farm outbreak of African swine fever on a farm, swine fever had been previously diagnosed in wild boars in nearby forests, reported the Ministry of Rural Affairs.

As cases of the African swine fever virus in wild boars show that the virus is widespread in the country’s forests, pig farmers must be very careful not to bring the contagion from forest to farm, noted Viltrop.

According to the EMÜ professor, the period of highest risk of infecting domestic pigs with the virus is during the summer months, during which wild boars are more active, and during which humans are likewise more active on wild boars’ travel paths.

“Causes of infection are often simpler than we think,” explained Viltrop. “The greatest risk is people, who may carry the virus onto farms on vehicles, stable inventory, or even their own clothes and shoes. Outbreaks can only be prevented by careful implementation of biosecurity measures.”

A an epidemiological survey conducted by EMÜ during the summer and fall of 2015 showed that out of 18 outbreaks among domestic pigs, 11 were likely the result of farm employees not following biological safety protocols; 6 outbreaks involved contaminated bedding or feed, an one single instance was able to be tied to contaminated green fodder.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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