Poland struck by first cases of African swine fever

Piglets are seen at a farm on April 6, 2009 in Dabkowice, central Poland

Poland on Tuesday said it was taking action to stop the spread of African swine fever as it confirmed its first two cases and the European Union worked to end a Russian ban on its lucrative pork exports.

A buffer zone has been set up along parts of the eastern border with Belarus, Lithuania—where the disease is present—and Ukraine, Poland's chief veterinary officer Janusz Zwiazek told reporters in Warsaw.

Officials have ordered farmers to fence in their land, lay down disinfectant mats and test and monitor shipments of live pigs out of the zone.

African swine fever is harmless to humans but lethal to pigs and has no known cure, posing a grave threat to commercial pig farms.

Moscow banned pork imports from the EU on January 29, after Lithuania confirmed the disease in two wild boars. Brussels slammed the move as "disproportionate" and is now in talks with Moscow on the matter.

Russia absorbs a quarter of the bloc's pork exports, worth around 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion) annually.

Poland is one of the EU's leading pork exporters with exports in 2013 valued at 912 million euros ($1.2 billion).

State veterinarians confirmed the disease in Poland following tests on the carcasses of wild boar found near the village of Szudzialowo, just under a kilometre (mile) from the border with Belarus.

Lithuania ordered a mass cull of wild boars, saying it would shoot 90 percent of the estimated 60,000 animals living on its territory to halt the spread of the disease.

Zwiazek said Tuesday Poland was "not planning a mass depopulation of boars in the affected areas because that would just open up territory for possibly infected animals coming over the border" from Belarus or Lithuania.

"Poland has up to 252,000 (not counting the newborns) and we routinely shoot up to that number each year to manage the population," he said, explaining that stocks of the highly fertile animals could double within a year without large-scale annual hunts.

African has spread throughout the Balkans, the Caucasus and Russia since 2007, and is endemic to areas of Africa, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The FAO warns of "vast losses" if it migrates from Russia to China, which is home to half of the world's pigs.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UN warns over swine fever outbreak in Ukraine

Aug 21, 2012

The United Nations food agency on Tuesday warned that an outbreak of African swine fever in Ukraine could pose a risk for animal health in the region as a whole despite swift moves to limit its spread.

Taking aim at deadly swine diseases

Dec 18, 2013

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are stepping up their efforts to help fight deadly swine viruses that are prevalent in other countries and pose a threat to the United States.

Minister says Poland to produce shale gas next year

Nov 27, 2013

Poland will begin commercial production of shale gas next year, the Deputy Environment Minister said Wednesday, becoming the first European country to use the controversial technique known as fracking.

Recommended for you

Dengue fever strikes models in Japan

1 hour ago

A worsening outbreak of dengue fever in Japan has claimed its first celebrities—two young models sent on assignment to the Tokyo park believed to be its source.

Japanese researchers develop 30-minute Ebola test

1 hour ago

Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a new method to detect the presence of the Ebola virus in 30 minutes, with technology that could allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection.

Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

13 hours ago

Senegalese authorities on Monday were monitoring everyone who was in contact with a student infected with Ebola who crossed into the country, and who has lost three family members to the disease.

Cerebral palsy may be hereditary

19 hours ago

Cerebral palsy is a neurological developmental disorder which follows an injury to the immature brain before, during or after birth. The resulting condition affects the child's ability to move and in some ...

19 new dengue cases in Japan, linked to Tokyo park

Sep 01, 2014

Japan is urging local authorities to be on the lookout for further outbreaks of dengue fever, after confirming another 19 cases that were contracted at a popular local park in downtown Tokyo.

User comments