African swine fever is spreading throughout the regions of Eastern Europe. There’s been many cases identified in various countries so far: Hungary, Poland, Baltic states, Moldova, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. A few cases happened in Belgium, where anumber of dead swine infected with the aforementioned disease was found.
What is African swine fever, exactly?
African swine fever is a virus that infects both wild and domesticated swine alike. The virus is difficult to cure and is in most cases proven lethal. Clinically speaking, African swine fever is no different from the classical swine fever. That’s why any dead swine discovery must be reported to the enquiry point. Because the virus is only transmissible by blood, fluids that contain blood and tissues that contain blood, the spread of the virus is quite slow. African swine fever does not endanger domesticated animals and humans, even if they consume infected meat.
What should the hunters look out for?
Hunters must follow the health status and population count of wild swine in their hunting area. If a dead animal is found, the discovery and the exact location of the body have to be immediately reported to the enquiry point. If needed, the hunter must personally accompany the responders to the body of the animal because it presents a threat of infection to other swine in the area. If the hunter is accompanied by a hunting dog, the hound should not at any point make a physical contact with the swine.
When the hunter returns from the hunt, all the equipment used has to be thoroughly disinfected to prevent the spread of the virus into their home. Those hunters who are also pig breeders must wash themselves and have a change of clothing and footwear before entering the swine pen or the barnyard. If the hunter has been hunting in foreign countries, especially in those that already had identified cases of African swine fever, the hunter should not bring home animal products such as hunting trophies, raw material and food stuff because they pose a threat to the hunter’s domestic environment. Household waste should not be fed to the wild or domesticated swine. Pigskin, internal organs and bones of wild and domesticated swine should not be brought to wildlife feeding stations.
Every person who has a pen with wild swine has to make sure that domesticated swine does not come into physical contact with wild swine because the entire group of animals inside the pen could be infected.