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Slovakia to cull livestock after first swine fever case

African swine fever is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs
African swine fever is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs AFP
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Bratislava (AFP)

Slovakia on Thursday reported its first case of African swine fever, which is deadly to pigs but not humans, prompting the authorities to order a cull.

The outbreak was discovered in a village near the Hungarian border.

"This is the very first case of ASF diagnosed in Slovakia," Jozef Bires, director-general of the State Veterinary and Food Administration, told AFP, adding that it occurred just 470 metres (yards) from the Hungarian border.

Hundreds of wild boar in Hungary have also been diagnosed with ASF this year.

All pigs within three kilometres (almost two miles) of the outbreak are to be culled, Slovakian authorities said, adding that they will establish a three-kilometre protection zone and a 10-kilometre surveillance zone.

The agriculture ministry in the EU member state immediately informed the relevant European authorities, its spokesman Daniel Hrezik told AFP.

The outbreak was recorded in the eastern village of Strazne, 460 kilometres (285 miles) east of Bratislava, after several pigs died over the course of a week, village mayor Julius Horvath told AFP.

He said there were no major pig farms in the area and that the ASF deaths occurred "in households with just one or two animals".

African swine fever is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs and wild boar that almost always ends in death within a few days.

There is no antidote or vaccine. The only known method to prevent the disease from spreading is a mass cull of infected livestock.

Poland, a leading pork producer in the EU, discovered its first ASF outbreak in 2014, while the disease appeared in adjacent Lithuania in 2009.

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