Source AP ©

African swine fever spreads from Georgia to Armenia

A U.N. food agency said Wednesday that African swine fever, a contagious viral disease in pigs, is spreading from Georgia to Armenia.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said the virus has hit northern Armenia and the outskirts of the capital, Yerevan.

"The spread of the African swine fever virus to the Caucasus region poses a very serious animal health risk and could lead to a dramatic situation," FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech said in a statement. "The EU, Russia, the Ukraine and other countries have a serious problem on their doorsteps that needs to be urgently addressed," he added.

In Georgia, 52 out of 65 districts are currently affected by the disease, with more than 68,000 pigs dead or culled, the agency said.

The disease, which causes fever and death in pigs, does not affect humans.

Killing infected animals or animals at risk and movement control are essential measures to contain the virus, the agency said. It said it is planning to provide training and equipment to Georgia and Armenia to help them increase surveillance.