Kosovo implements African swine fever simulation exercise
27 February 2020, Pristina, Kosovo – A two-day African swine fever (ASF) simulation exercise came to an end today, organized by FAO and the Food and Veterinary Agency of Kosovo* in Pristina and Viti. It is part of a wider FAO effort improving Kosovo’s preparedness in responding to a possible outbreak of ASF – a dangerous transboundary animal disease without a cure.
Representatives from the Food and Veterinary Agency, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Rural Development, and private veterinarians, along with FAO animal health experts, participated and simulated an outbreak of ASF with the overall aim for main actors to respond efficiently.
“We already had a successful simulation exercise last November in North Macedonia, thus, we looked forward to replicate it in Kosovo, while another one is planned for Montenegro,” said FAO animal health preparedness expert Mark Hovari. “Kosovo is at risk for African swine fever incursion, therefore it is important to review plans and procedures while we are still not under pressure.”
During the first day, a disease suspicion visits was carried out on a commercial pig farm and the Disease Control Center (DCC) was established. The aim of the field work was to practice procedures in case of disease suspicion, including biosecure entry and exit, clinical examination, pathological examination, and sampling and data collection, in the same way as it would happen in real life. In parallel, the DCC has drawn up plans to establish protection and surveillance zones and for the detection of ASF both in the infected area and free area.
On day two, participants used the data and information obtained on the previous day to plan the culling, disposal, and cleaning of the infected farm. Meanwhile, a separate group worked on an eradication plan in an ASF case in wild boar.
In September 2019, FAO organized an assessment mission, biosecurity workshop, another workshop on African swine fever in wild boar, and hunting biosecurity in Kosovo. Furthermore, the Food and Veterinary Agency participated in a Training of Trainer workshop.
“It is important that we aim to deliver the same type of events for all beneficiaries in the Balkan region, regardless of the weight of the of the pig sector,” stressed Daniel Beltran-Alcrudo, FAO animal health officer.
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