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ASF Outbreaks in St Petersburg

by 5m Editor
17 January 2011, at 9:46am

RUSSIA - African swine fever (ASF) has hit farms in St Petersburg.

The threat of an African swine fever epidemic among livestock in St Petersburg has given a scare to the top city hall officials, according to RIA Novosti. Governor Valentina Matviyenko ordered the agencies concerned to deal with the problem in the most drastic way: to slaughter all pigs in the areas where outbreaks of the virus have been recorded.

The first swine fever cases were registered during the Christmas break. Three districts of the region were immediately put under quarantine to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus: all exports of livestock or animal products were banned. People were allowed to travel, however, as swine fever does not affect humans except by causing economic damage: pork prices are bound to surge.

In fact, the problem may be more serious than it seems because the virus spreads fast and usually kills infected animals.

Once the first cases were registered, local authorities began an investigation to find out the source of the infection. St Petersburg chief veterinarian, Yury Andreyev, said the virus probably came from contaminated food waste. The potential perpetrators will face administrative or even criminal charges, he said.

The city authorities have made it their priority to prevent the further spread of the virus. Since there is no vaccine available, the drastic measures proposed by the governor are probably the only possible solution. She ordered to slaughter all pigs and destroy animal products in areas where swine fever cases were registered.

The order will affect around 1,200 pigs, said Deputy Governor Lyudmila Kostkina, who is supervising the process. To keep the affected farms afloat, City Hall will pay them compensation of about US$2.5 per kilo of each slaughtered animal's weight, a total of 10 million rubles ($330,000).

So far, the quarantine has successfully contained the spread of the virus, and analysts do not expect a sharp rise in pork prices, reports RIA Novosti. In fact, most of the meat is supplied to St Petersburg from other regions. However, if the problem is not resolved soon, meat suppliers may hike wholesale prices on the back of epidemic concerns.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on swine fevers by clicking here.