Poland suffers first cases of African swine fever in pigs

July 23, 2014
Piglets at a farm in Dabkowice, central Poland on April 6, 2009

Poland on Wednesday confirmed its first cases of deadly swine fever in domestic pigs, as the World Trade Organisation reviewed a Russian embargo on EU pork imports imposed over the disease.

"Test results showed the first outbreak of African swine fever on a farm with five pigs," in the eastern region of Bialystok bordering Belarus, Polish veterinary authorities said in a statement.

The animals were destroyed and 37 surrounding farms with 192 pigs were put under quarantine, it added.

The development comes the day after fellow EU member Latvia declared a state of emergency in a second area of the Baltic state as efforts continued to contain an outbreak of the fever among pigs.

Lithuania ordered a mass cull of earlier this year, targeting 90 percent of the estimated 60,000 living on its territory, after the disease was detected in animals thought to have come from Belarus.

Poland first imposed measures in February to safeguard its lucrative pork exports, worth 912 million euros ($1.2 billion) last year, after the disease was found in two wild boar.

China nevertheless banned Polish pork and Russia slapped its own blanket ban on pork imports from the 28-member European Union, a move Brussels criticised as "disproportionate".

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

China, home to the world's biggest pig population, is also the largest importer of Polish pork, buying 52,000 tonnes worth 68 million euros ($92 million) in 2013.

Russia absorbs a quarter of the EU's pork exports, worth around 1.4 billion euros a year.

Trade sources said the WTO's disputes settlement body has created panels to hear complaints about Moscow's ban on EU pork imports, which come at a time of heightened tension between Russia and Brussels over Ukraine.

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 .

Related Stories

UN warns over swine fever outbreak in Ukraine

August 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.

Poland struck by first cases of African swine fever

February 18, 2014

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.

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.