African Swine Fever Widespread In Georgia
African Swine Fever
There is strong evidence that the devastating pig disease African Swine Fever is widely spread across Georgia.
A joint mission of the European Commission, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and FAO called for immediate and rigorous control measures requiring substantial international assistance.
The mission reported that by mid-June 52 of 65 districts were suspected to be affected by African Swine Fever, more than 30 000 pigs died and a total of 22 000 pigs have been culled.
African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs. It causes fever and results in high pig mortality. African Swine Fever does not affect humans. It is a transboundary animal disease with the potential for wide international spread.
There is no vaccine against the disease; controlling animal movement and stamping out is the only remedy to avoid spillover of the disease to healthy animals, wildlife or even local ticks.
"The Republic of Georgia faces an exceptionally difficult situation," the mission concluded. "Keeping pigs in open grazing, the wide distribution of infected pigs before the first confirmation of the disease, and the limited human and financial resources are difficult circumstances constraining an effective control campaign."
A significant wild boar population will also complicate short- and long-term control of ASF. Aggressive control measures limiting the contact between domestic and wild pigs are essential in order to avoid that the virus becomes adapted to wild pigs.
"With rapid and appropriate control measures, it may be possible that confined pig farms and even some districts can be kept free of infection. However, without such interventions, there is a real risk that Georgia may lose most of its pig population to African Swine Fever in the coming months," the mission stated.
Georgia has about half a million pigs, kept mainly in back yards and in small farms.
African Swine Fever may have entered Georgia from the port of Poti on the Black Sea and then spread eastwards. It can be assumed that pigs had access to contaminated waste from ships.
The mission stated that a national control campaign should