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Published: 3 july 2013 09:00

Lithuania prepares for lengthy fight against swine fever

Kiaulių gripas
BFL nuotr. / Kiaulių gripas

Lithuanian authorities describe the situation in neighboring Belarus, where African swine fever is spreading at a rapid pace, as very dangerous and will ask the European Commission for around 3.5 million euros in EU aid in their fight against the highly contagious disease.

Jonas Milius, the director of the Lithuanian State Food and Veterinary Service, confirmed to BNS that the EU's executive body had been informed that Lithuania would formally apply for European support.

Milius expects that Poland and Latvia will join the request, noting that a new affected area has been found in Belarus' Vitebsk region, close to the Latvian border.

Russia is threatening to close its borders due to the spreading disease, the director said.

"I have spoken with my Russian colleagues. They say that Russia will stop imports from all EU countries if contamination is detected in at least one EU country. All EU countries are worried after cases of African swine fever have been registered relatively close to the Lithuanian and Latvian borders," he told BNS.

The Lithuanian government is planning to allocate around 750,000 litas (EUR 217,400) for measures aimed at preventing the disease from spreading into the country, but Milius said that this sum would only suffice for about a couple of months.

The Lithuanian veterinary authority last Friday tightened checks at the border with Belarus after the neighboring country had reported an outbreak of African swine fever not far from the frontier.

BNS
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