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Pork prices rise as African swine fever spreads in Europe

Hungary recorded an 18% increase in live pig prices during November as a result of the global ASF situation, which also caused pork prices to rise by 43%.

Photo by Andrea Gantz

Live pig and pork prices reported higher in Hungary

As African swine fever (ASF) spreads to more farms in Bulgaria and Romania, the disease situation in central and eastern Europe is becoming more serious. It has been blamed for a spike in pork price in Hungary.

Up to January 15, there have been 41 confirmed outbreaks of ASF among domestic pigs in Europe since the start of 2020, according to the European Commission (EC).

From this source, worst affected has been Romania (36 outbreaks), while Bulgaria has reported five outbreaks.

Over the past week, new outbreaks in Bulgaria reported previously by local media have been officially confirmed. According to the agriculture ministry’s report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), there have been four new outbreaks among domestic pigs.

Affected have been two farms — with 39,600 and 29 animals, respectively — in the provinces of Shumen and Gabrovo. The ASF virus has also been detected in backyard herds in Shumen and Sliven.

Almost 40,000 Bulgarian pigs have been lost to the disease through mortality and culling in just one week. With the three farms that were confirmed with ASF last week, Bulgaria’s total outbreaks in domestic pigs since the end of December has reached seven, with almost 64,000 pigs dead or destroyed.

All three provinces affected are in central Bulgaria. Source of the recent infections is uncertain. However, a week ago, officials were blaming poor biosecurity for the spread of the virus.

New outbreaks in Romania

Romania’s veterinary agency has reported 30 new outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs to the OIE during the past week. These outbreaks alone have led to the loss of more than 25,000 animals through mortality or culling.

Two registered farms — including one in the eastern region of Braila with more than 24,600 pigs — were among those to be hit by the disease. Other outbreaks were among small backyard pig herds.

ASF blamed for pig, pork price rises in Hungary

Hungary recorded an 18% increase in live pig prices during November, reports Budapest Business Journal. This jump was attributed to the global ASF situation, which also caused pork prices to rise by 43%.

New ASF cases in European wild boar

Veterinary authorities of five European countries have reported to the OIE new cases of ASF in their respective wild boar populations over the past week.

The highest number of new cases was 109 in Romania, where the animals were found between December 26 and January 8. Other countries reporting outbreaks were Moldova (32 wild boar), Latvia and Russia’s Central federal district (each with seven), and one in Belgium. The Belgian case was detected in animal remains in the forest of Luxembourg province. According to the official report to the OIE, the wild boar had died at least three months previously.

After an apparent four-month absence, ASF has returned to Kaliningrad in the Northwestern federal district of Russia. One wild boar tested positive for the virus soon after the new year, according to the agriculture ministry’s official report to the OIE. The last reported outbreak in the region was at a farm in August 2019.

There have also been new cases in ASF in wild boar in the Republic of Serbia. Reuters reports that the infected animals were found in two hunting grounds in the east of the country, near the border with Bulgaria and Romania.

This year, there have been 341 confirmed outbreaks of ASF among European wild boar up to January 15, according to the EC. Hungary has reported the most outbreaks (146), followed by Poland (98), Romania (44), Lithuania (19) and Latvia (14). Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Italy, Serbia and Slovakia have each reported between one and six new cases.

ASF ‘resolved’ in Ukraine and Moldova

OIE has received declarations from Ukraine and Moldova that previous ASF outbreaks have been “resolved.”

Ukraine’s veterinary agency made the declaration for two regions. In the southeastern oblast of Zaporizhia, there were three ASF outbreaks — two on farms and one in wild boar — between March and September 2019. During November 2019, there were two outbreaks in Zhitomir in the north of Ukraine.

In the Republic of Moldova, there were three outbreaks of ASF in backyards pig herds during November 2019. All were in the same region of the district of Hincesti, which is in the west of the country and near the border with Romania.

ASF situation in other regions

There have been no new reports of ASF outbreaks in Africa. In Asia, new cases have been reported in domestic pigs in Indonesia, as well as in wild boar in South Korea and Russia’s Far Eastern district.

View our continuing coverage of the global African swine fever situation.

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