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ASF infects more European backyards, wild boar

There are new cases of African swine fever (ASF) among domestic pigs in the European states of Moldova and Romania.

Photo by Zoe Kay

Kenya authorities claim that country’s ASF situation is resolved.

There are new cases of African swine fever (ASF) among domestic pigs in the European states of Moldova and Romania. These countries and five other states have confirmed more infections among wild boar. After four outbreaks in 2019, Kenya’s animal health agency has declared the ASF situation in the east African country to be resolved.

Starting between the New Year and January 22, all 13 of the latest ASF outbreaks in Romania’s domestic pigs were among backyard herds. One or more animals died in each of the herds, according to the official report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). A total of 310 pigs were lost to the disease through mortality or culling as a result of these outbreaks, Romania’s animal health agency reports.

Up to January 27, there have been 85 confirmed outbreaks of ASF among domestic pigs in Europe since the start of 2020, according to the European Commission (EC). The total has risen by 23 since the previous week. From this source, worst affected has been Romania (78 outbreaks), while Bulgaria has reported six outbreaks, and there was one in Ukraine.

This week, Moldova reported the first occurrence of ASF in Leova, which is in the west of the Republic and shares a border with Romania. The disease was confirmed after six pigs in a backyard herd of 34 animals died of the disease. The remaining pigs have been destroyed.

Battling the spread of ASF in some areas since 2018, Romania has confirmed 13 new outbreaks among domestic pigs. A total of 114 pigs were lost to the disease as a result — all in backyard herds of no more than 40 animals. These outbreaks occurred in four broad regions of the country.

Seven European countries report ASF in wild boar

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

Reporting the highest number of cases to the OIE over the past week was Poland. The agriculture ministry recorded 161 infected wild boar since December 23 last year. In all of these cases, animals were found in the provinces of Lubusz (Lubuskie) and Greater Poland (Wielkopolskie). These are located in the west of the country, near the border with Germany.

Hungary’s agriculture ministry confirmed to the OIE a further 154 ASF-infected wild boar across several regions of the country. The majority of cases were found as a cluster in a northern region of the country that borders Slovakia.

There were also 122 new ASF cases in wild boar in Romania, 12 in Latvia, and 10 in Moldova — including the first virus-positive animals in the region of Ungheni. This is in the west of the country, and the outbreak was close to the border with Romania.

OIE also received information on one new cases in wild boar in western Russia and in Ukraine. The Russian animal was found in the oblast of Nizhny Novgorod, which is in the Volga federal district. A second wild boar was also found recently in Chernihiv, an oblast in northern Ukraine that borders Belarus and Russia.

Since August of 2019, ASF has also been reported in wild boar in Russia’s Far East federal district, which lies in Asia.

This year, there have been 993 confirmed outbreaks of ASF among European wild boar up to January 27, according to the EC. This represents an increase of 450 over a period of one week.

Hungary has reported the most outbreaks (365) to the EC, followed by Poland (322), Romania (118), Bulgaria (71), Latvia (40) and Lithuania (34). Belgium, Estonia, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine have each reported fewer than 20 cases so far this year. EC figures do not include Moldova or Russia.

ASF ‘resolved’ in Kenya

Kenya’s animal health agency has reported to the OIE that the ASF situation has been “resolved.”

Based on official reports from the agriculture ministry, four outbreaks of the disease confirmed in August 2019. All were on farms in three constituencies of Uasin Gishu county, which is in the west of Kenya. No new cases have reportedly been identified since that time.

UK, Australia cooperate on ASF control

This week, the United Kingdom and Australia have been working together on an exercise aimed at strengthening their strategies to control ASF.

The ASF situation in Asia has led to a 5.5% reduction in the continent’s compound feed production, and contributed to a drop of more than 1% in total global feed output, according to experts speaking at a recent event in the U.S.

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

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