The first outbreak of African swine fever this year was detected in a pig farm of Molėtai district

The State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) informs that the first outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) this year in Lithuania was confirmed on 14 April in a pig farm of Molėtai district (Čiulėnai sub-district). The outbreak of ASF was detected in a commercial farm, where more than 6.5 thousand pigs were kept.

The outbreak of ASF was confirmed by performing a weekly monitoring programme for the virus, with the samples of dead pigs submitted to the National Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment Institute for testing.

Currently, the restrictions on the movement of animals are provided for the infected farm, as well as the traceability of pigs and the assessment of where they were slaughtered. According to the preliminary data, the carcasses of farmed animals were not exported to other countries and distributed only in Lithuania.

The warning signs were erected next to the farm, and preparatory works for the eradication of the ASF outbreak  were started. The epizootic investigators collect the primary information to determine how the virus may have entered the farm, and additional blood and carcass samples are selected to assess the spread of the disease on the farm.

A particular attention is paid to biosecurity requirements in order  to prevent the spread of the disease from this farm to other pig holdings in the country. Also, in case of an unfavorable situation due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, a great attention is devoted to the provision of necessary security measures for the employees, performing the eradication work of the ASF outbreak.

The protection and surveillance zones have been established around the affected farm. According to the SFVS, there are no non-commercial pig holdings in the region, but the specialists will carry out physical inspections within a radius of three and ten kilometers to ensure that no one is keeping pigs illegally. People who have any information about illegally kept pigs are asked to be public-spirited and to report it immediately to the SFVS by a free line 8 800 40 403 or to any SFVS territorial Unit.

The SFVS notes that the main influence on the occurrence and spread of ASF is not the seasonality, but the compliance with biosecurity requirements. If they are breached, the infection from wildlife can be easily transmitted to pig holdings.

In Lithuania, this case of ASF in the pig farm is the first this year, but the outbreaks of this virus are increasing in other European countries. Poland and Romania have already notified about the ASF outbreaks in pig holdings.