Swine fever outbreak threatens Caucuses countries, warns FAO

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Checking the health of a young pig

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is urging authorities in the Caucasus region to scale up prevention methods following an outbreak of African swine fever in Ukraine.

The disease is caused by a highly infectious virus that affects domestic and wild pig populations, and can result in high numbers of deaths.

African swine fever does not affect humans, but it can also be spread by people who feed pigs food scraps and other leftovers which contain contaminated pork products.

Dianne Penn reports.

The first-ever detection of African swine fever in Ukraine occurred in a village, and FAO says the authorities responded quickly by imposing a quarantine zone and destroying affected pigs.

FAO warns that although control measures appear to have temporarily halted the disease's spread, it has established a foothold in the Caucasus region.

The agency says other parts of Ukraine, and countries like Moldova, Kazakhstan and Latvia—which have large pig populations raised on household or family farms—are now at high risk.

FAO reports that African swine fever outbreaks in the Russian Federation last year led to the death or culling of up to 300,000 pigs, resulting in an estimated $240 million in losses.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 51″

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