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African swine fever spreads to farmed pigs, 500 animals to be exterminated

Pigs in three farms, two in Viljandi and one in Valga County, have been diagnosed with African Swine Fever, the Veterinary and Food Board said.

The farms are in confinement and the livestock in all three – a total of 500 pigs – will be destroyed to prevent spread.

The disease was detected in a farm in Koikküla, Valga County, on July 16 and the infected animal died two days later. On the same day, July 18, several more swine were diagnosed in Leie and Ridaküla villages in Viljandi County.

"A quarantine will be imposed on all outbreak areas and all pigs will be destroyed in accordance with the guidelines on surveillance and control of African swine fever," said Maarja Kristian from the Veterinary and Food Board, adding that the pig holdings will then be disinfected.

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

The infection was first diagnosed in Estonia in September 8, 2014. Before last week, only wild boar had been infected with the disease. Outbreaks among farmed pigs had, however, recently occurred in the neighboring countries, Russia and Latvia among them.

African swine fever is a highly contagious and fatal disease of domestic and feral pigs (including wild boar) 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.

Editor: M. Oll

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