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Sharing best practices ‘critical’ to halt spread of ASF
Lithuania was the first country in the European Union to report cases in wild boar.

Analysis reveals disease is continuing to spread among wild boar
 
Food safety experts have declared that sharing best practices in fighting African swine fever (ASF) is critical to prevent the spread of the disease.

Research by the European Food Safety Authority found that the disease is continuing to spread among wild boar in the Baltic States and Poland. The experts concluded that humans have been critical in spreading the disease. For example, through the disposal of contaminated waste in wild boar habitat.

‘Drastic depopulation, targeted hunting of female wild boar and carcass removal solely implemented as measures to control ASF in the wild boar population need to be implemented in a highly effective manner (at or beyond the limit of reported effectivity in wild boar management) to sustainably halt the spread of ASF,’ the authors conclude.

In the study, EFSA experts helped Baltic countries and Poland analyse epidemiological data collected until September 2017. The analysis revealed that two more EU Member States - the Czech Republic and Romania - reported cases in 2017, bringing the total number of affected Member States to six.

African swine fever is a devastating disease of pigs that is spread either via direct animal contact or through contaminated food, such as sausages. In January 2014, Lithuania became the first country in the European Union to report cases in wild boar. This was followed in June and September 2014 by Latvia and Estonia respectively.

Measures to prevent the spread of ASF began after the disease was first confirmed in Brussels in June 2013. The measures included increased biosecurity and surveillance on pig farms and the use of wild boar repellents.

Findings from the study will be presented by EFSA veterinary surgeon Sofie Hollander later today (9 November) at a conference organised by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic.

The study, 'Epidemiological analyses of African swine fever in the Baltic States and Poland', is published in the EFSA Journal.

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Sale of microbeads now banned

News Story 1
 The sale of products containing microbeads is now banned across England and Scotland, Defra has confirmed.

As part of government efforts to prevent these plastics ending up in the marine environment, retailers can no longer sell rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads. These tiny plastics were often added to products including face scrubs, soaps, toothpaste and shower gels.

Just a single shower is thought to send 100,000 of these beads down the drain and into the ocean, where it can cause serious harm to marine life. A ban on manufacturing products containing microbeads previously came into force in January this year. 

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News Shorts
George Eustice announces funding for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea

Farming minister George Eustice has announced a £5.7million funding package to help farmers tackle Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD).

The funding will be available in England for three years through the Rural Development Programme and farmers will be able to apply for one-to-one farm advisory visits by a veterinary practitioner.

The project will recruit local vets who will then work with keepers of breeding cattle to tackle BVD on their farms.