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Over 15,500 pigs to be culled after African swine fever reported in Latvia

Staff Writer |
Over 15,500 pigs are to be culled on a large farm in the western Latvian district of Saldus after an outbreak of African swine fever was reported there, local media informed.

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Media reports say it's the biggest outbreak of the disease in the country since 2014, when it for the first time hit Latvia.

The Latvian Food and Veterinary Service has sent its specialists to the farm to take measures in order to prevent the infection from spreading outside the affected Druvas Unguri farm.

The company which has been raising 15,570 pigs on the farm has suspended operations, the veterinary authority said.

An epidemiological investigation is under way to establish the causes of the outbreak.

An extraordinary cabinet meeting has been called this Friday at which the Latvian government will decide on further measures that have to be taken to curb the outbreak.

A quarantine zone has been designated 10 km around the affected farm. Biosafety requirements and inspections will be stepped up on the farms within this territory and controls of transport vehicles increased paying special attention to the transportation of animals and meat products.

This is the eighth outbreak of African swine fever in domestic pigs in Latvia this year. In all the previous cases the disease had affected small farmsteads.

Representatives of the Food and Veterinary Service noted that African swine fever has continued to spread also in Latvia's wild boar population, with 666 cases recorded so far this year.

The first wild boar killed by the disease in Latvia was found in the summer of 2014 not far from the Belarusian border.

African swine fever is highly contagious and deadly disease affecting pigs. An outbreak can kill a high number of animals in a matter of days. The infection does not affect humans.

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