African Swine Fever Approaches Slovakia, Emergency Measures Introduced

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(Stock photo by AP)

Bratislava, August 9 (TASR) – The African swine fever virus has nearly reached Slovakia, with the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry introducing emergency measures for farmers and even consumers, Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matecna (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) and Slovak Veterinary and Food Directorate director Jozef Bires announced at a joint press conference on Wednesday.

The African swine fever virus has already been found in Poland, Ukraine and in the Czech Republic close to the Slovak border. According to Matecna, the virus can be transmitted principally by the migration of infected boars.

The ministry called on the public not to carry their own food to large events in nature, but to consume food prepared by the organisers, as the virus can also be transmitted by food and carried on clothing.

“We don’t have the African swine fever virus in Slovakia so far thanks to strict measures from the veterinary directorate. Nonetheless, the risk of contagion is the highest ever at the moment. We appeal to consumers to be watchful with imported products made of pork and instead prefer quality Slovak food, which is under constant surveillance,” said Matecna.

The veterinary directorate has introduced extraordinary measures mainly in border areas, ordering farmers to announce any mortality in pigs and any symptoms of the disease in their stud to the veterinary authorities, to keep their pigs in closed premises, to introduce disinfection fords, and to ensure changes of clothing for the staff and visitors of farms and other measures.

In the acute form of the disease, pigs may develop a high fever, up to 42 degrees Celsius; they then gradually lose their appetites and become depressed. The fever gets haemorrhagic and within a few days of catching the virus, the pigs enter a comatose state and then die.