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African swine fever continues to be reported in wild boar across Europe

Christian Fernsby |
Since the last report on 12 May 2021, African swine fever (ASF) continues to be reported in wild boar across Europe, including in the east of Germany.

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Germany: Additionally, ASF in domestic pigs has now been reported in eastern Germany for the first time. Elsewhere, and according to World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reports, frequent outbreaks in domestic pigs continue to be reported in Romania and Russia.

Bulgaria has not reported any ASF updates, according to the OIE, since October 2020. However, recent EU Animal Disease Information System (ADIS) summary table indicates that Bulgaria has reported 185 cases to EU; in wild boar in 2021. Bulgaria have decreased their wild boar population by 60% compared to previous years and continue to see a reducing trend in ASF cases across the country.

Estonia has not previously had ASF reported by the OIE. The latest ADIS summary table however, confirms that Estonia have reported 30 cases of ASF in wild boar from 2 January to 11 July 2021. There were four cases reported in July.

Germany has reported its first outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs. On the 15 July 2021, the Friedrich-Loeffler scientific institute reported two outbreaks on two farms in Brandenburg, both close to the border with Poland, and 188 km apart.

According to official reports, one was an organic farm in the Spree-Neiße district, with 313 animals (169 piglets, 83 sows, 58 pigs (below 50 kg), 3 breeding boars) and open-air husbandry; the other was a small-holding containing two pigs in the district of MärkischOderland.

In both instances the virus is reported to have been detected as part of routine monitoring of dead pigs. Two days later a third outbreak was reported, also in Märkisch-Oderland. This was on a small farm of four animals. All four animals were infected and two were dead.

At the time of writing, these ASF outbreaks in domestic pigs have yet to be reported by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Reports have continued of ASF in wild boar via OIE. Since 12 May, in Brandenburg there have been 46 reports of ASF in wild boar, and in Saxony there have been 26 reports (comprising 266 and 261 animals respectively). Since the first reported case of ASF in wild boar (in September 2020) there have been 383 cases reported to OIE; however ADIS records show 966 cases in 2021, so significantly more.

Hungary has yet to report any outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs. Since the last report on 12 May, there have been 407 reports of ASF (by OIE) in wild boar. These reports in wild boar consist of a total of 529 animals.

Latvia has not reported outbreaks in domestic pigs to OIE since July 2020. There have been 38 reports of ASF in wild boar to OIE since 12 May 2021, comprising 66 animals in total.

Lithuania has not reported any incidents of ASF, according to OIE, within the last six months; however the latest ADIS summary confirmed 80 cases in wild boar between 2 January and 11 July 2021. Its last reported case was on 09 July 2021.

Moldova has not reported any outbreaks or cases of ASF since October 2020.

Poland has not reported any ASF outbreaks in domestic pigs, according to OIE, since November 2020. However, in 2021 20 outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs were reported by ADIS, with a report as recent as 11 July 2021.

According to its most recent PAFF presentation, six of these outbreaks occurred in Poland’s Free Area, with suspicion first notified on 18 June 2021 after clinical signs were observed in pigs moved between two farms, epidemiological investigations identified the second infected premises as the ‘primary outbreak’.

Further investigations and tracings identified the other infected premises. There have been no reports of ASF cases in wild boar reported to OIE. Recent weekly data from ADIS (08 July to 14 July 2021) report 41 cases in that week.

Romania has reported 173 new outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs since 12 May to OIE. One was in commercial premises containing over 10,000 animals, located in the west of the country (in Timiș County). The remainder were in backyard premises (comprising a total of 2,058 animals), premises that were classed as “Other”, and a zoo (Craiova). There were 168 reports of ASF in wild boar by OIE, comprising 230 individual wild boar.

Since the last report on 12 May, Russia has reported 34 outbreaks in domestic pigs to OIE, including 29 backyard premises and four commercial premises (with the largest containing 25,236 pigs). There were also 17 reports of ASF in wild boar, comprising 50 animals.

Serbia has had no reported outbreaks of ASF according to OIE since September 2020. The latest ADIS summary however, confirmed 33 outbreaks in domestic pigs and 71 cases in wild boar between 2 January and 11 July 2021. This is unchanged since the last report.

Slovakia has had no reported outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs according OIE, since August 2019. However, ADIS reports one outbreak in domestic pigs in June 2021. Details of this outbreak are unavailable. There have been no cases of ASF in wild boar reported by OIE (since April 2020), but ADIS reports that between 2 January and 11 July 2021 there have been 1,226 cases of ASF in wild boar (ADIS, 2021). The most recent is dated 08 July 2021.

Ukraine has not reported any outbreaks or cases of ASF since the last report on 12 May 2021. Both OIE and ADIS are in accordance in showing that the last reports were on 28 April 2021 for domestic pigs and 22 April 2021 for wild boar.

ASF in domestic pigs has now been reported in Germany, in two small holdings and an organic holding with 200 pigs; to date no large commercial premises have reported disease.

The confirmation of disease here is unsurprising given the circulation in wild boar in east Germany and presence in neighbouring Poland but must still be disappointing considering their implemented biosecurity measures. The initial cases were detected through their ongoing active surveillance programme (as opposed to clinical signs being observed), and the intensive surveillance around these outbreaks may see further reports in the coming weeks.

ASF continues to be present in domestic pigs across Eastern Europe, where Romania in particular has continued, since May, to report high numbers of outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs, albeit mainly in small holdings. ASF is still circulating in wild boar across much of Eastern Europe, and in Germany (Brandenburg and Saxony). Therefore, the risk of entry of ASF virus in products of animal origin from affected countries, including from illegal imports, remains at medium.

Although the UK has now left the European Union, as part of our ongoing commitment to ease the burden felt by businesses and travellers and allow ports of entry longer to prepare, there has been no change to the rules for passengers travelling into GB from the EU with products of an animal origin from January 2021, but Great Britain will be bringing in controls in January 2022.

Nevertheless, all travellers are strongly advised to avoid bringing, ordering or requesting any pork products – for example, dried or cured meats, sausages, salamis or pâté – back to the UK from affected parts of Europe. Travellers from Asia and other third country areas who bring meat or dairy products can also face prosecution and a large fine.

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