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ASF spreads to more European pigs, wild boar

Moldova, Romania and Russia have all reported new cases of African swine fever in pigs.

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Moldova has seen the return of the African swine fever to one district for the first time in more than two years while more cases have been recorded in Romanian pigs, affecting one large commercial unit.

Since the seasonal festivities, new cases of African swine fever (ASF) in domestic pigs have been reported in Moldova, Romania and Russia.

For Moldova, the latest outbreak represented the first in the district since August 2019. According to the OIE notification, the virus was detected in a backyard herd of 72 pigs in Briceni. Six of the animals died, and the rest were destroyed. Located in the northwest of this eastern European state, the district of Briceni borders Romania and Ukraine.

Latest official reports from Romania to the OIE indicate a total of 39 new confirmed ASF outbreaks. Directly impacted were 10,605 pigs.

Only one of these latest outbreaks in Romania was at a large commercial premises. On December 21, the disease was detected among more than 9,600 pigs at a farm in the southeast of the country. At the time of reporting, culling of the remaining animals was underway to prevent further spread of the infection. Another recent outbreak in central Romania hit the 81 pigs at a registered holding in central Romania. All other reported outbreaks in the country were in small backyard herds.

Russia’s veterinary authority has informed the OIE of just one new outbreak of ASF in domestic swine. Affected was a backyard herd of five pigs in the Penza region in the Volga federal district.

In addition, more cases of ASF and animals culled were added to previously reported outbreaks in the Perm region of the same district, as well as in Belgorod and Kostroma in the Central federal district, and Novgorod in the Northwestern district.

Despite some additional cases in Novgorod, the outbreak series there was described as “closed” on December 3. Since July 2021, seven outbreaks were confirmed in this region, affecting backyard herds. Of these, the most recent was confirmed at the end of September.

Further ASF cases among wild boar

In Italy, urgent action has been called for to protect the country’s pig industry. The calls follow confirmation of the first case of ASF on the country’s mainland.

One wild boar in the northwestern region of Piedmont has tested positive for the virus, according to the official notification to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Over the past two weeks, five European states have reported new cases of ASF among their respective wild boar populations, in addition to Italy.

Registering the highest number of new outbreaks with the OIE was Romania with 75. Infected animals were found in the south and east of the country, with the majority of cases in central counties.

Meanwhile, Latvia has officially recorded 28 new outbreaks in its wild population, and Hungary a further nine.

There have been 179 new outbreaks in Poland involving 198 animals, according to the nation’s chief veterinary office. They bring to 3,078 the number of outbreaks among Polish wild boar in 2021.

In Germany, the number of ASF cases in wild boar has risen to more than 3,100. This figure covers all cases in the wild population since the first case in September 2020.

The total comprises 2,321 in the eastern state of Brandenburg (as of January 10), and 774 in neighboring Saxony (as of January 6).

In Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, seven cases have been registered with the OIE since November. In addition, the national veterinary agency, the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute reported two further cases in the state earlier this month.

Virus-positive wild animals have been found in seven districts in Brandenburg, three in Saxony, and one in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. All three states are in the east of Germany, and border Poland.

In December, Germany’s new federal agriculture minister Cem Ozdemir restated the nation’s aims first to stop the spread, and then to eradicate ASF. To this end, the federal government will continue to take primarily a coordinating role.

ASF resolved in two regions of Russia

Russia’s veterinary authority has declared to the OIE that the ASF situation is “resolved” in Volgograd and the Chuvash Republic.

These declarations come after a single case of ASF in one wild boar in each region, located in the Southern and Volga federal district, respectively.

Dogs trained to check for exotic animal diseases in Scotland

The Scottish government has announced the establishment of a team of dogs to help prevent the entry of ASF and other exotic diseases.

Products of animal origin carried in passenger baggage and packages represent a potential source of the virus for the United Kingdom (U.K.). Together with their handlers, the government-funded dog squad will be employed shortly at airports, ports and parcel hubs across Scotland.

In 2020, more than one metric ton of such products were seized from incoming travelers.

Preventing the entry of these potentially infected products is vital to keep the U.K.’s pig sector safe, and free from the devastating disease, said Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon.

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

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