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An outbreak of African swine fever has been recorded in the Leningrad region. According to the News Agency, this was informed by the Federal Leningrad Interregional Veterinary Laboratory on 17 Oct 2009. According to the information, 8 out of 14 pigs in the farm of the military unit 11115 of the Defense Ministry, located in the town of Mga Kirov district, died some time ago from an unknown reason. Tissue samples of the dead animals were sent for investigation to the All-Russia Research Institute of Veterinary Virology and Microbiology in the city Vladimir [Federal Governmental Institute, Centre for Animal Health, Vladimir, Yur'evets, Russia]. From there, it is concluded that the pigs died of African swine fever. The remaining 6 animals were killed, their corpses and remains burned. Quarantine measures have been applied. According to preliminary data, the outbreak is the result of recycled swine waste, derived from pork meat imported to the military unit of the Southern Federal District.
The devastating pig disease known as African swine fever (ASF) has now been found in northwest Russia, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has reported today. The latest outbreak of ASF - which cannot be transmitted to humans - was found near the city of St. Petersburg on 20 October, jumping 2,000 kilometres from southern Russia. The spread has confirmed the worst fears of FAO experts who have been tracking the disease in Georgia and neighbouring nations for several years. “Although we have known that the virus has been circulating in the Caucasus - in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan - for several years now, eventually spreading to southern Russia, it is its sudden appearance far away near the Baltic coast that is worrying,” said Juan Lubroth, the agency’s Chief Veterinary Officer. The danger now is that ASF could spread to other regions, including the European Union, Eastern Europe, countries in the Black Sea basin and even Central Asia and China, which has the world’s largest pig population. It can be transported over wider geographic areas through the movement of infected swine or contaminated pork products, FAO said.
Although Muslim populations do not consume pork, Iran, Turkey and Central Asia could act as a transit point for ASF due to the large numbers of wild boar in these areas. “In light of this outbreak, FAO is advising countries to be vigilant and roll out their early detection and response plans,” Mr Lubroth said. The virus is believed to have first entered into the Caucasus through the Black Sea port of Poti in Georgia, where garbage from a ship was taken to a local dump where pigs feed. In sub-Saharan Africa, ASF is spread through warthogs and other wild pig species, and can also be transmitted by a particular type of tick. The disease existed for decades in the Iberian Peninsula until it was eradicated in the late 1990s. There is no vaccine against ASF currently, and the FAO issued a call for laboratories in the United States, Europe and Russia to reinvigorate efforts to develop an effective immunization. The disease is eliminated by culling infected animals and strict movement control.
The spread of African Swine Fever in Russia has United Nations officials worried that the virus could eventually jump into Europe, central Asia and possibly China, according to a memo the U.S. Meat Export Federation issued to its members. Concerns emerged after the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization reported detection of ASF near St. Petersberg, Russia, a red flag since the disease for the past several years reportedly had been confined to the Caucasus region of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and neighboring areas of southern Russia. St. Petersburg is more than 1,200 miles to the north and west of this region. Although not a threat to human health, ASF can be extremely deadly in swine. The virus is believed to have killed about 6,000 pigs during the first half of 2009 and forced the culling of about 42,000 additional pigs. "If recent ASF outbreaks in Russia are as widespread as available information indicates, they could represent a significant setback to Russia's goal of attaining self-sufficiency in pork production," USMEF said. As no vaccine for ASF exists, countries are being told to up early detection and response efforts.
Following the rapid spread of African swine fever (ASF), a Russian official says that the halting of pig movements in under consideration. Due to the spread of the African Swine Fever (ASF) throughout the territory of Russia, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture is considering the possibility of transferring pig farms to closed operation mode. This is in order to prevent further fever spread in the territory of the country, which can result in loss of one million pigs – equivalent to 50,000 tonnes of meat. "In order to resolve this problem, we will have to transfer all hog farms to the closed type of production," said the Russian minister of agriculture last week. According to the official, the direct economic losses from ASF could reach 25-30 billion rubles (€600 million). Further spread of the disease can destroy the country's pig production, and the whole programme of livestock development. "New outbreaks of the disease can arise where there is no proper veterinary protection of pig farms and where farm management violates the veterinary and sanitary regulations," the Minister added