2,000 animals put to death as African swine fever spreads in Estonia

Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
7/30/2015 11:42 AM
Category: Economy

The Veterinary and Food Board disclosed that the highly contagious African swine fever virus has been spreading among pigs. Almost 1,600 animals will be exterminated in Tartu and Järva counties, on top of 500 that had to leave life last week.

The disease was first detected in a farm in Koikküla, Valga County, on July 16 and the infected animal died two days later. Several more were diagnosed in Leie and Ridaküla villages in Viljandi County and subsequently 500 pigs were put to death.

On Tuesday, the Veterinary and Food Board checked farms in Tartu and Järva counties and confirmed the bad news today, sending approximately 1,600 pigs to extermination, taking the total number of destroyed animals to over 2,000.

A quarantine will be imposed on all outbreak areas and all facilities that accommodated animals, will be disinfected.

The farmers will be reimbursed for the destroyed animals, provided that they followed the guidelines set for the prevention of African swine fever.

The infection was first diagnosed in Estonia in September, 2014, but before the July 16 incident, only wild boar had been infected with the disease.

African swine fever is a highly contagious and fatal disease of domestic and feral pigs, transmitted through direct and indirect contacts, ingestion of contaminated feed-stuffs and by certain tick vector species. It is considered one of the most dangerous diseases of pigs, with a mortality rate close to 100 percent and no vaccine or drugs currently available for either cure or prevention.

Although the disease does not pose a threat to humans, it affects trade and has a serious socio-economic impact on people’s livelihood.

Pork has for centuries been a staple food in Estonia.

S. Tambur

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