African Swine Fever is spreading in the EU says EFSA


By Jenny Eagle, GlobalMeatNews 



African Swine Fever (ASF) is a devastating disease occurring for the first time in certain eastern areas of the European Union (EU), according to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).


In its latest annual update report​; ‘Epidemiological analyses of African swine fever in the European Union’, EFSA claims the persistence of the disease in wild boar and the limited number of control measures available represents a challenge for the whole EU agricultural sector, in particular the pig farming industry.


Nine affected countries


It found during the period covered by the report – November 2018 to October 2019 – Czechia became officially ASF-free. However, the disease was confirmed as present in Slovakia, which means there are nine affected countries in the EU.


“In 2019, the area of the EU affected by ASF expanded progressively, moving mainly in a south-western direction​,” it states in the report.


“African swine fever is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually deadly. There are neither vaccines nor cures. For this reason, it has serious socio-economic consequences in affected countries. Humans are not susceptible to the disease​.”


Typical signs of ASF are similar to swine fever. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, lack of energy, abortions, internal bleeding, with haemorrhages visible on the ears and flanks. Sudden death may occur. Severe strains of the virus are fatal.


The way the disease spreads is via contact with infected animals, ingestion of meat or meat products from infected animals, contact with anything contaminated by the virus, bites by infectious ticks and movement of infected animals.


ASF is endemic in sub-​Saharan Africa. In Europe, it has been endemic in Sardinia for several decades. In 2007 outbreaks occurred in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the European part of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.


From Russia and Belarus, the disease spread to the European Union. Lithuania reported cases of ASF in wild boar for the first time in January 2014. Poland followed in February 2014 and Latvia and Estonia in June and September of the same year. The disease continued to spread and, by the end of 2019, it was present in nine EU Member States: Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.


The report shows all phases of the epidemic are now represented in the EU...


Control measures ...


Source:​ EFSA​

Title:​ Epidemiological analyses of African swine fever in the European Union (November 2018 to October 2019)

Published: ​January 30, 2020

DOI:​ 10.2903/j.efsa.2020.5996