Cuttino's Georgian Life

A journal of my Peace Corps service in the Republic of Georgia, 2006-2008.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pig fever? Yes, pig fever...

Recently we received a bulletin from our medical staff about a rapidly-spreading case of African swine fever. We're always vigilant for bird flu, had a small bout with rabbit fever, but the case of pig fever has seemed to take everyone--including the Georgian authorities--by complete surprise. The virus doesn't affect humans, but it has the potential to completely obliterate the pig population in this country and make it impossible to restore it.

Public Enemy No. 1

In case you were wondering, pigs are a big deal here. First of all, they're physically huge...I've seen pigs that are as big as cows. Most of them wander around freely, much like the cows, and aren't confined to one pen. This is going to cause some problems when there are sick, free-roaming pigs in the country. But most importantly, pork is a staple here. Mtsvadi (pork kebabs) are a national dish; most New Years supras feature a large pig head as its centerpiece. We're in danger of losing a lot of good food!

The concern here is that if the virus is not stopped, it could spread south into Armenia and north into Russia. Already, 20 thousand of Georgia's half-million pigs have been slaughtered, but the virus continues to move east. It's going to make for a very interesting summer if this continues...


Post a Comment

<< Home