Second ASF case found in Wild Boar ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Wild boar in Estonia.
Wild boar in Estonia. Source: Bart Jekel/Creative Commons

Another wild boar carrying African swine fever (ASF) have been found in Rapla County, further evidence that the disease, once thought to have disappeared from Estonia, is still present. A recent case of ASF was found in a dead wild boar, which had been run over, bringing the total to two.

ASF safety measures must continuously be adhered to, regional Raplamaa Sonumid reports.

The Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) was informed in early September, of a young boar, aged less than a year, which had been killed by hunters and was found to be carrying the virus. The boar was found close to the first virus-carrying animal detected last month.

Maarja Kristian, adviser at the VTA's animal health and welfare department, said that the cases indicate the presence of ASF in the environment and the wild boar population.

The risk is that ASF could transmit to domestic pig stock; wild boar and domestic pigs are the same basic species.

"Pig farmers continuously need to comply with biosafety requirements," Kristian said.

"Each pig farmer must have a biosafety plan describing how the measures are implemented at their farm. This includes the movement of people and transport vehicles on the territory of the farm, disinfection barrier, changing of clothing and footwear before entry into the farm and upon exit therefrom and the cleaning and disinfection of those clothes, as well as the fact that pigs can only be held indoors," she went on.

The first infected boar was found in the village of Toomja, also in Rapla County, central Estonia, on August 25. The animal was two-year-old sow which had been hit by a car.

Kristian noted that the VTA regularly monitors wild boar stocks for ASF cases.

Prior to late August, only ASF antibodies, and not the virus itself, had been found in wild boar stock.

The finds effectively torpedo earlier efforts to apply for ASF-free status for Estonia, at European Commission level.

Pig farms have been clear of the virus for three years, but the incident reveals the threat has not completely gone away.

New ASF outbreaks are reported almost daily, Europe-wide, with cases in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and several other, mainly central and eastern European countries.

Domestic pigs may not be kept outdoors in Estonia, nor may they be fed food waste, under VTA rules, as a precaution against ASF.

The VTA requests hikers, berry and mushroom pickers, hunters and anyone else spending time in the forest to contact the nearest county center if they find a dead wild boar, and not to discard food waste when in the natural environment.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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