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Georgia may Lose Most Pigs to Swine Fever: FAO

Georgia is at risk of losing most of its pig population to African swine fever and the devastating disease could also threaten pigs in neighbouring countries, the UN food agency warned Tuesday .

"There is strong evidence that the devastating pig disease African Swine Fever is widely spread across Georgia," the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a written statement.

Without "rapid and appropriate control measures", the FAO said there was "a real risk that Georgia may lose most of its pig population to African swine fever", estimated at about half a million pigs.

To date, neighbouring countries have not reported African swine fever.

"However, due to the probably ongoing movement of pigs and pig products between Georgia and neighbouring countries, spread of the virus can not be excluded," it added.

The FAO said 52 of Georgia's 65 districts were suspected of being affected by swine fever by mid-June, and more than 30,000 pigs had died. A further 22,000 had been culled.

"The Republic of Georgia faces an exceptionally difficult situation," it said following a visit to the country.

"Keeping pigs in open grazing... the limited human and financial resources are difficult circumstances constraining an effective control campaign," the Rome-based UN agency said.

It also warned that the significant wild boar population would complicate the control campaign and insisted on "aggressive control measures" to limit contact between domestic and wild pigs.

There is no vaccine for African swine fever, which causes fever and has a high fatality rate, though it does not affect humans.


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