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African Swine Fever Outbreak Hits Poland During Coronavirus Pandemic

by | April 9, 2020

While the coronavirus kills tens of thousands of people around the world, Poland has been hit with an outbreak of African swine fever, or ASF.

ASF is a highly contagious virus lethal to pigs. In fact, it usually kills an infected animal between two and ten days from the time of infection in a gruesome death including diarrhea and haemorrhaging of the internal organs. It has already been credited with the deaths of around 40 percent of China’s domesticated pigs.

The outbreak is currently taking hold in Więckowice, a small village in western Poland. One farm will be culling — or killing — some 10,000 piglets to prevent the virus from spreading further.

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pigs dead from African Swine Fever
ASF comes with a grusome list of symptoms and is highly lethal (galitsin/Shutterstock.com)

African Swine Fever — Humans at Risk?

While ASF is widely believed to be non-zoonotic — meaning that it cannot to transfer from animals to humans — Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Epidemiology Service, Gennady Onishchenko says that risk still applies.

“If we take into account the fact that pig physiology is very close to human physiology, and they suffer illness in almost the same way as we do, there is reason to believe that in the next round of mutation the virus can become dangerous to humans.”

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