Tuesday, August 21, 2012

FAO warns of pig disease's spread following outbreak in Ukraine


ROME, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday warned of the risk of pig disease's spread after the African swine fever (ASF) was detected in Ukraine.

While control measures appear to have temporarily halted the disease's spread, "the first-ever detection of African swine fever in Ukraine has established a firm foothold in the Caucasus and poses an ongoing risk to neighboring areas," the Rome-based organization said in a statement.

In addition to some other parts of Ukraine, nearby countries like Moldova, Kazakhstan and Latvia, which have large pig populations, are also now at high risk, according to the FAO.
All countries at risk should scale up their prevention measures, stand ready to detect ASF outbreaks as soon as they occur and respond in a proactive fashion, the organization warned.
ASF does not affect humans, but mortality's in domestic pigs can be extremely high. Last year, up to 300,000 pigs died or were culled as a result of ASF outbreaks in Russia, incurring an estimated loss of 240 million U.S. dollars.

Humans often contribute unconsciously to the spread of this highly infectious virus. For example, foodstuffs that contain ASF-contaminated pork or pork products can be consumed by scavenging free-ranging pigs.

Therefore, FAO recommended a strict ban on swill feeding, a mix of liquid and solid food scraps and leftovers, which is largely responsible for new infections.
European wild boar are also susceptible to the disease, which makes them a vector for transmission as they wander freely across national boundaries, the FAO said.


No comments: