Slovakia taking precautions against African swine fever

The Agriculture Ministry is monitoring buffer zones, and recommending breeders to adopt measures to protect their animals.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: AP/TASR)

Though no case of African swine fever (ASF) has occurred in Slovakia, the Agriculture Ministry has decided to adopt precautions due to the situation in neighbouring countries.

ASF has already occurred in the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine, according to Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matečná.

“The risk of bringing the disease here is major as it is transferred by migrating wild boars,” said Matečná, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “Thus I’d like to ask breeders and the public to follow the instructions of the State Veterinary and Food Administration.”

The ministry has particularly adopted measures in the so-called buffer area, which it monitors intensively. Moreover, the State Veterinary and Food Administration (ŠVPS) demands breeders to inform vets about any deaths of swine and report all swine with ASF symptoms to vets as well as regional veterinary and food administration offices.

In addition, breeders should keep swine in enclosed areas and observe biology protection rules. They should also prevent wild boars from entering their farms, respect the ban on feeding the animals with kitchen waste, and take the swine to regular check-ups, TASR reported.

ŠVPS also bans the feeding of wild boars in the border regions close to Ukraine. Hunters should take samples of hunted wild boars and send them for testing. In the case of finding a dead animal, they are required to send a sample to a respective regional authority within 24 hours or the next working day at the latest.

Moreover, the ministry has called on the public to not bring their own food in the case of a larger event held in nature, and to take cooked food from the organiser. The reason is that ASF is spread through food and also clothing, TASR wrote.

People should also be very careful when purchasing imported pork products. Matečná recommends the purchase of Slovak products instead, TASR reported.

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