Has Hungary's swine flu epidemic infected its pig population?
Rural people in Hungary have cast doubt on claims by the authorities that the country's swine flu epidemic has not infected the domestic pig population.
Hungary has found nearly 900 cases of African swine fever in wild boar since April last year, according to the country's national food safety authority (NEBIH).
Authorities say domestic pigs have not been infected, but people Euronews has spoken to claim otherwise.
István Csonka, from Tiszabura, east of Budapest, said he lost his pig in two days to a disease starting with a high fever.
"That's where my pig died, we pulled it out here and cut it up, and the veterinarian said: 'Well that's it, that's the swine flu'," Csonka told Euronews.
Another man, György Tancsa, said one of his pigs had also fallen ill.
"I called the vet, he had a look at it, he said that was the swine flu," Tancsa told Euronews. "They took samples and sent them to Budapest. Results came back and in a few days we had to exterminate the rest of the pigs."
We found another three locals with the same story: their pig died, the local vet in each case told them that the pig was infected with swine flu and ordered the extermination of the rest of the stock. The owners were told to wait patiently for compensation.
"We confirm again that laboratory examinations did not find the virus in samples from domestic pigs in Hungary," said NEBIH in a statement. "A number of other diseases might raise the suspicion of the African Swine Flu, like the Aujeszky-disease, salmonellosis, pasteurellosis, and so on.
"But we have to consider the possibility of swine flu infection in the case of any illness starting with a high fever that would not react to treatment. This is why the authority takes severe preventive measures based on bare suspicion.”
Around ten European Union countries are currently affected by African swine fever, with particularly bad outbreaks in Bulgaria and its neighbour Romania. Slovakia was affected by the disease in four backyard farms as of July.
Late last month five cases of swine fever in wild boar were found near Budapest. By this time about a quarter of the area of Hungary was qualified "infected” or "high risk” by NEBIH. More than 5,000 domestic pigs were exterminated as a safety measure.