Farms in South Africa, Romania, Russia hit by ASF

ASF has returned to South Africa this month, and new outbreaks have been reported among the domestic pig populations of several European countires.

Stefan Dinse |

ASF has returned to South Africa, and new outbreaks have been reported among the domestic pig populations of several European countries.

After a brief absence, African swine fever (ASF) has returned to Northern Cape Province in South Africa.

According to an official report from the country’s agriculture department to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), 85 pigs at a farm in the province were found to be infected with the disease in mid-September. The last outbreak in the area was at the end of August. As in previous cases, they were outside the country’s ASF-free zone, and so they do not pose a direct threat to the commercial pork sector in South Africa.

Up to September 16, there have been 1,509 confirmed outbreaks of ASF among domestic pigs in Europe so far in 2019, according to the European Commission (EC). From this source, by far worst affected has been Romania (1,346 outbreaks), followed by Poland (45), Bulgaria and Ukraine (each with 36), the Republic of Serbia (17) and Lithuania (16). Other European states with confirmed outbreaks are Italy, Latvia and Slovakia.

Romania, Russia report heavy ASF losses from farms

Over the past two weeks, Romania’s veterinary authority has informed the OIE about a total of 128 new ASF outbreaks in domestic pigs, affecting more than 26,300 animals. While the majority of the outbreaks hit small backyard herds, the ASF virus was also detected at three large farms in the south and east of the country, which represent a potentially serious development in the course of the disease.

Russia’s agriculture ministry has reported to the OIE just one new outbreak of ASF in domestic pigs in the west of the country, but it affected a large farm with more than 35,600 animals. The location was NovSvin in the Novgorodsky district of Novgorod oblast in Russia’s North Western Federal District. Two of the animals are reported to have died as a result of the disease there.

Further outbreaks in Bulgaria, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine

A farm with almost 4,000 pigs was confirmed with ASF after 20 of the animals died in the Vidin region in the northwest of Bulgaria in mid-September, according to the official report to the OIE.

In the Republic of Moldova, two small backyard herds have been confirmed with the ASF infection. Both were in regions where previous outbreaks have been reported.

The number of outbreaks in Serbia since the end of July has risen to 18, as the agriculture ministry has informed the OIE of new cases in a backyard herd. These were the first cases in Central Banat district in the north of the country. Previous outbreaks have been in central Serbia, in or near the region of Greater Belgrade.

Ukraine’s animal health agency has informed the OIE that the ASF situation has been resolved in four regions — in Ternopil and Vinnitsa in the west, in Kharkiv in the east, and in the northern oblast of Zhitomir. There has been one new outbreak of the disease in the central region of Kirovohrad, affecting a backyard herd of 44 pigs.

Six European states report new ASF outbreaks in wild boar

The European state reporting the highest number of new ASF outbreaks in wild boar is Poland, whose agriculture ministry recorded 188 outbreaks involving 334 animals to the OIE. All cases — confirmed between April 7 and June 6 — were in the previously affected provinces of Warmia-Masuria, Mazovia, Lublin and Podlaskie.

Over the past two weeks, OIE also received confirmation about ASF cases in wild boar in Hungary (76 animals), Romania (72), Bulgaria and Latvia (4 each), and Russia (1).

This year, there have been 4,324 confirmed outbreaks of ASF among European wild boar up to September 16, according to the EC. Poland has reported the most outbreaks (1,676), followed by Hungary (948), Belgium (479), Romania (467), Lithuania (358) and Latvia (233). Other European states reporting outbreaks in wild boar during 2019 are Bulgaria, Estonia, Italy, Slovakia and Ukraine.

View our continuing coverage of the African swine fever outbreak.

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