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FAO joins forces with Moldovan authorities against African swine fever

Moldovan veterinarians, employees from regulating agencies and farmer association leaders are participating in a two-day workshop on African swine fever control and prevention, organized by FAO in partnership with the country’s National Food Safety Agency.

During the workshop, participants will get updates on prevention and control measures planned by Moldovan authorities, and learn new methods and strategies from FAO international experts. The workshop marks the start of an FAO-financed project for Moldova on transboundary animal diseases.

"One of the most important components in the prevention and control of ASF is the capacity to make informed operative decisions,” said FAO Assistant FAO Representative in Moldova Tudor Robu. “That is why FAO is proposing a new approach with the Decision Support Tool. This mechanism has been successfully implemented in other countries in the region and should prove to be a useful tool for Moldova, too.” Other activities include a review of current legislation and regulations on the disease for the development of a preparedness strategy and contingency plan, and organization of a simulation exercise on surveillance, prevention and control.

Vsevolod Stamati, deputy head of the National Food Safety Agency, highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the face of transboundary diseases.

"We fully understand the critical importance of regional cooperation and exchange of successful practices in the joint effort to control ASF,” he said, “and we highly appreciate FAO’s support in this regard."

African swine fever was confirmed in Moldova on 3 October 2016 – by the European Union and FAO Reference Laboratory for ASF – after the National Food Safety Agency sent 13 samples collected on 23, 24 and 26 September. The samples came from seven domestic pigs, from Mosana and Cernoleuca villages in Donduseni county in northern Moldova. According to the Agency, the affected areas have been isolated through sanitary filters.

African swine fever, or ASF, is a viral infection of pigs that is transmitted mainly through the oro-nasal route after contact with excretions from infected pigs or through ingestion of pork or other contaminated products (swill and waste) containing the virus. Feral pigs (escaped domestic species) and European wild boar (Sus scrofa) are equally susceptible to ASF, which is very difficult to eliminate once it becomes endemic in these populations.

There is no treatment or vaccine against ASF, so the most effective protection for ASF-free areas is to prevent introduction of the virus. Once established, ASF can have a very severe socio-economic impact on people’s livelihoods and food security, as well as on international commercial trade. In areas where the infection occurs, pig production is sustainable only through adopting biosecurity measures on individual holdings or through certifying and maintaining ASF-free zones or compartments (compartmentalization and zoning).

Humans are not susceptible to African swine fever infection.

25 October 2016, Chisinau, Moldova

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