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Greece reports first case of African swine fever

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Greece reports first case of African swine fever

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ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece detected a case of African swine fever on a domestic farm in the north of the country this week, officials at the Ministry of Agriculture said on Thursday.

African swine fever is harmless to humans, but it is highly contagious and deadly in pigs. It has spread from Africa to Europe and Asia and has already killed hundreds of millions of pigs, affecting global meat markets.

The case was found in the Serres region of northern Greece, near the border with Bulgaria and North Macedonia, the ministry said, adding that the Serres pork trade had been banned.

Leonidas Varoudis, head of the local government's veterinary service in Serres, told local TV on Wednesday night that a pig had died on a small farm.

"We need to investigate whether, by chance, there are other farms around or where the disease came from," he said.

Greece produces about a third of domestic pork consumption and imports the rest.

Agriculture Minister Makis Voridis is expected to inform journalists of the case later on Thursday.

African swine fever has spread in Eastern Europe in recent years, and the pace with which it has spread has scared governments and pig farmers.

Last month, Serbia saw an outbreak of swine disease in wild boar in the east of the country, near its borders with Bulgaria and Romania.

Bulgaria said last month that it would slaughter tens of thousands of pigs after detecting an outbreak of African swine fever on a farm in the northeast.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou; edited by Susan Fenton)

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