African swine fever (ASF) has been detected in Lithuania, the country’s State Food and Veterinary Service told BNS.
The highly contagious swine disease was found in tested wild boars, Jurgita Savickaitė, the service’s spokeswoman, said.
Jonas Milius, head of the service, said on LRT Radio that ASF had been detected in two wild boars in the southern districts of Šalčininkai and Varėna.
“We have sent [samples] to Germany for verification, but our laboratory is a national reference laboratory, and we trust its findings,” the official said.
It is possible that the disease will not spread into pig farms in Lithuania if safety requirements are followed, Milius said.
“If people follow bio-safety measures, [the disease] will not enter farms. As to wild boars, all European risk assessment institutes said that they would be infected. Nature is nature and the movement of wild boars continues,” he said.
The veterinary authority imposed tightened safety measures several months ago, Milius said.
“To be honest, we took steps two months ago, because there was an increase in wild boar deaths in the border area, particularly in a forest close to Alytus. All the necessary ASF precaution measures are being applied,” he said.
The first ASF outbreaks in Belarus, some 40 kilometres from the Lithuanian border, were identified last summer. Lithuania then took preventative measures, including mandatory disinfection of vehicles crossing the border and restrictions on food products from the neighbouring country.
In an effort to prevent the disease from spreading from Belarus, Lithuanian Environment Minister Valentinas Mazuronis this year allowed hunting wild boars all year round without any restrictions.
The European Commission last year rejected a request to provide funds to build a fence along the border with Belarus to stop wild boars from crossing from the neighbouring country.