African Swine Fever hits Georgia, threatens neighbouring States – UN
A United Nations agency today warned that Georgia has been hit by the devastating pig disease African Swine Fever – and neighbouring countries are also at risk.
“This is a dramatic development in the international distribution of African Swine Fever, which has been almost entirely confined to sub-Saharan Africa since 1990,” said Jan Slingenbergh, Senior Animal Health Officer of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The highly contagious viral disease of pigs causes fever and results in very high pig mortality but does not affect humans the agency said, warning that its effects on commercial and smallholder pig production can be “catastrophic.”
There is no vaccine against the disease, which can only be stamped out, according to FAO.
Georgia reported that outbreaks have started at the end of April in 10 regions spread across the country, the agency warned in a news release. A total of 20,000 pigs in village and commercial farms have been slaughtered.
“Delayed detection of the virus has resulted in a long danger period where the disease has been unrecognized and the virus could have moved to neighbouring countries. Armenia, Azerbaidjan and the Russian Federation should be on high alert,” said Mr. Slingenbergh.
FAO said the virus probably entered Georgia through imported frozen or processed pig meat.
The European Union, the World Organisation for Animal Health and FAO will send a joint team of experts to Georgia in the next days to assess the situation and advise the government on immediate control measures, according to the UN agency.