Ukraine reported its first outbreak of the deadly pig disease African swine fever, the World Organisation for Animal Health reported, citing a notification by the country’s Ministry of Agricultural Policy.
The illness, which is harmless to people, was found in three backyard pigs that died from a herd of five in the country’s east, according to the notice published online today by the Paris-based animal-health organization, known by its French acronym OIE.
The disease is caused by a virus for which there is no vaccine and has killed thousands of pigs in Russia. The fever may have been introduced in the region in 2007 when swine at a dump in the Black Sea port of Poti ate garbage from a ship, according to the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization.
Authorities are carrying out “a full range of measures to eradicate the outbreak,” the OIE wrote. Those include culling of pigs, quarantine measures and movement controls, according to the notice.
Ukraine had about 7.48 million pigs at the start of 2012, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The virus was confirmed by laboratory testing on Aug. 31, according to the OIE notice.
The disease has been previously found in European nations including Spain and Portugal in 1960. Portugal needed 33 years to rid itself of the fever and Spain took 35 years, according to the OIE. The illness remains endemic on the Mediterranean Sea island of Sardinia. Epidemics also took place in Brazil from 1978 to 1981 and Haiti from 1978 to 1984.
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