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Frequently asked questions from hunters on African swine fever


African swine fever (ASF) is an especially dangerous infectious viral disease affecting pigs. Although this disease is not dangerous for humans, its spread must be put under control for economic and environmental reasons. The Ministry of Environment has received a host of questions from hunters on ASF after six districts of Lithuania announced a state of emergency, followed by the news of plans to hunt up to 90 per cent of the Lithuanian wild boar population.

Can wild boars be hunted?

Yes, they can. At present, all restrictions on the hunting of wild boars have been lifted, and the animals can be hunted all year round.

The State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) has issued instructions to deliver samples from each wild boar hunted in Lithuania to the State Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment Institute for ASF tests. Samples may be brought to a local division of the State Food and Veterinary Service.

Meat may only be used for food after receiving a negative answer concerning ASF.

Be sure to observe all the rules during hunting.

How does the disease spread?

African swine fever is transmitted during direct contact with excretions, secretions, blood or sperm. The virus is also transmitted by tick (Ornithodoros). The disease may be transmitted indirectly via contact with infected equipment, clothes, transport, etc., when feeding improperly processed kitchen waste to domestic or wild pigs. This disease affects a foetus through the placenta.

Birds, flies and humans can physically transmit the virus from infected wild boars and pigs to healthy animals.

Is it safe to eat wild boar meat and pork?

Yes, it is. The disease is not dangerous for humans, but a person who eats infected meat becomes a vector himself or herself. That is why infected meat may not be consumed. Pigs affected by African swine fever are destroyed. The State Food and Veterinary Service controls the safety of meat sold in Lithuania, so products placed on the market are safe for use.

Can humans catch this disease?

African swine fever is not dangerous for humans. It only affects pigs and wild boars. Mortality from this disease on pig farms amounts to 100 per cent.

Has this disease been found in Lithuania before?

This disease has never been found in Lithuania before. African swine fever has been reported in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Italy, and it is widespread in African countries.

What are the measures for preventing and eradicating this disease?

There is no cure against this disease, and the affected pigs or wild boars are killed.

Disinfection is carried out on pig farms, the transport of pigs is restricted and neighbouring farms are put under observation.

To minimise the risk of ASF spread in Lithuania, users of hunting areas that fall within ASF risk zones will be charged with a task of hunting all will boards.

For hunting areas outside ASF risk zones, recommended quantities of hunted wild boars will be established and will amount to 90 per cent of the wild boar population.

What is being done to prevent the spread of this disease to other districts?

The State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) is taking all measures necessary to control and eradicate this disease:

• Quarantines are put on ASF sites;
• To protect adjacent animal farms from the possible spread of this disease, any removal of pigs from a territory is placed under a temporary ban;
• Protection and surveillance zones within a radius of 3 km and 10 km respectively are established, and the affected pigs are destroyed;
• Control of neighbouring pig farms is enhanced: clinical and laboratory blood tests are carried out on animals susceptible to the disease;
• Laboratory tests are carried out on shot wild boars.

More information is available on the 24-hour toll-free number 8 800 40 403 of the State Food and Veterinary Service. You can also contact your territorial division of the State Food and Veterinary Service.

Prepared according to SFVS information

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas