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Poland, Ukraine confirm ASF in domestic pigs

For the first time this year, African swine fever (ASF) has been confirmed at a farm in Poland, and the disease has also been detected in a Ukrainian backyard herd.

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African swine fever outbreak reported on a farm in Poland for the first time

For the first time this year, African swine fever (ASF) has been confirmed at a farm in Poland, and the disease has also been detected in a Ukrainian backyard herd. The number of European wild boar that have tested positive for the virus now already exceeds 3,000 so far this year.

While reporting huge losses among its wild boar population and significant numbers of outbreaks among backyard herds in eastern provinces so far this year, no ASF cases had been found in domestic pigs in western districts until this week.

An ASF outbreak has now been confirmed at a farm in the province of Lubusz, according to the Polish veterinary service. The virus was detected among the herd of 23,746 pigs, including more than 6,900 sows. Control and eradication procedures have been put in place.

Lubusz province borders the German states of Brandenburg and Saxony. However, the farm is reportedly located in Nowa Sol county, which is around 100 kilometers from the international frontier.

Germany’s Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has been in close contact with the Polish authorities since the first cases of ASF in wild boar in the west of Poland were confirmed in November of 2019. Since that time, strict controls have been put in place to prevent the ASF virus infecting Germany’s wild and domestic pig populations.

According to EC data, Poland reported 48 outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs last year, and none so far in 2020. The most recent cases on Polish farms were confirmed in October 2019.

This week, Poland’s chief veterinary officer has applied to European Commission (EC) to reduce the blue areas — representing the highest risk for ASF — in the western provinces. Documentation sent to the EC offers evidence of progress in controlling the spread of the disease among domestic pigs in this region. The European authorities could choose to re-designate the area as a red (restricted) zone, where some of the tightest restrictions could be lifted.

ASF continues to impact Poland’s wild boar population. A total of 210 animals found dead between November 29 and December 23 were reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) by the country’s agriculture ministry over the past week. All these animals were found in eastern provinces.

New outbreak in Ukrainian backyard pig herd

This month, the ASF virus was detected in a herd of 37 pigs after one of the animals died. The agriculture ministry reports the affected backyard herd is in the central oblast of Vinnitsa.

In mid-February, a small farm in the same region had been found to be infected with ASF.

Overview of ASF among European pigs

Up to March 22, there have been 211 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 24 since the previous week.

From this source, worst affected has been Romania — with 190 outbreaks, an increase of 20 from the week before. There have been a total of 15 outbreaks in Bulgaria so far, and cases have also occurred in Ukraine (3), and Greece and Moldova, (each with 1).

ASF outbreaks in wild boar jump by 581

Up to March 22, the EC had recorded 3,327 confirmed ASF outbreaks among Europe’s wild boar population so far this year. This represents an increase of 581 from the previous week’s total.

At 1,429 and 1,042, respectively, Poland and Hungary have reported the highest number of cases over this period. Other countries reporting significant numbers of ASF-infected wild boar are Bulgaria (207), Latvia (77) and Lithuania (67). Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, Estonia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belgium have also confirmed ASF in wild boar this year, but in fewer than 40 animals. EC figures do not include Russia.

ASF cases in Europe’s wild boar appears to be accelerating. During the whole of 2019, the EC recorded just under 6,000 cases.

Once again, Hungary’s animal health agency has reported the highest number of ASF cases among wild boar to the OIE over the past week. Of the total of 353 animals, just over 302 were found in the northeastern region of Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen, which borders Slovakia. As well as the most recent cases reported in Poland, OIE has been informed of five new cases in Latvia, four in Russia, and one in Slovakia.

No new ASF cases in South Africa

There have been no new ASF cases among South Africa’s pig population, according to the latest report to the OIE from the country’s agriculture department.

The most recent cases occurred during November 2019 at a farm in Mpumalanga. After the first outbreak seven months previously, the ASF virus was detected at 18 locations. In all, more than 3,400 pigs were directly affected in the outbreaks.

South Africa’s animal health agency has also reported to the OIE that the ASF situation in North West Province has been “resolved.” This declaration follows a single outbreak of the disease at a small farm in the region during April 2019.

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

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