There are no new African swine fever hotspots in the country after 1,305 pigs were destroyed and safely disposed of as of Sunday, according to Nikolche Babovski, Food and Veterinary Agency director and chairman of the national African Swine Fever Coordinating Committee that was recently formed to deal with the consequences of the outbreak and protect pig farms, informs MIA.
At the committee’s first session, held at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy on Monday, Babovski said health authorities were monitoring the existing hotspots but there were no other confirmed cases. “Since the last case was confirmed in Obleshevo on Aug. 12,” Babovski said, “no new hotspot has appeared, luckily. All hotspots with confirmed positive cases have been closed, and in three of them, full depopulation measures have been implemented.”
“As of yesterday, 1,305 pigs in the 3 km zones have been killed and safely disposed of. Active and passive surveillance of possible African swine fever outbreaks is being implemented throughout the entire country,” he added. To boost African swine fever control efforts in the future, a national intervention fund will be set up, he said. Also, he said the Hunting Federation would take urgent measures for depopulation of wild boars as a virus reservoir throughout the entire country between Sept. 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023.
The Food and Veterinary Agency will continue to pay farmers for the pigs that were destroyed or that died. In addition, Babovski said, the Customs Administration would intensify controls of passengers’ personal luggage at border crossings and airports upon entering the country and report daily on the seized animal products and dispose of them safely. The Food and Veterinary Agency would also launch a media campaign to raise public awareness of African swine fever.
According to the Food and Veterinary Agency head, the census of pigs will continue in the municipalities that were declared zones under protection and zones under supervision as well as in neighboring areas. An urgent depopulation will have to be carried out in all farms within a radius of up to 10 kilometers around large pig farms if they do not meet high biosecurity standards, he added.
“The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food at the state university, in cooperation with all stakeholders, especially the Food and Veterinary Agency, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy and its relevant departments, the Hunting Federation, the Veterinary Chamber, pig farming associations, and others, should prepare a strategy with a specific long-term action plan for dealing with the African swine fever in the next 5 to 10 years,” Babovski concluded.
The Food and Veterinary Agency raised the alarm last month after a January case of African swine fever in the village of Dramche in Delchevo was followed by an infection in the village of Moshtica. The disease was also detected in Mojanci, Preseka, Trkanje and Vinichka Krsla.