African Swine Fever: 664 cases in western Eurasia since July

A startling 664 cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed in Russia and Europe since the start of July, according to the latest UK Government assessment of the devastating disease.

The document advised that while ASF has not moved substantially westward across Europe since the reports in wild boar in the Czech Republic in June 2017, outbreaks in backyard pigs in Romania have “increased exponentially”.

The disease has recently jumped west within Romania, likely from the south-east part of the country near the border with Ukraine.

The disease is thought to have entered Romania – the worst-hit country through an epidemic wave of infected wild boar from Ukraine, which entered the country by crossing the Danube delta.

However, experts consider that hunting wild boar in such a situation is not advantageous until the epidemic period is over. Once a degree of stability is reached, they advise control measures should include control of wild boar.

In addition, several other outbreaks have occurred in pig farms in northern Poland along the border with Kaliningrad. During July and August, ASF outbreaks have been reported in some large pig farms (more than 1,000 pigs), particularly in the northern parts of Eastern Europe.

In west Russia, there have been two outbreaks in farms with 12,000 and 37,000 pigs each and 11 backyard pig outbreaks in July and August, together with wild boar cases.

Three outbreaks of ASF have been reported in pig farms in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad north of Poland together with six backyard outbreaks and 18 cases in wild boar. One of the pig farms had over 100,000 pigs.

China cases

The figures do not include the recent cases in China where authorities have culled more than 25,000 pigs in a bid to halt the spread of the highly contagious disease.

So far, four cases spread thousands of kilometres apart have been confirmed along the east coast of the country.

As both the world’s largest pig-producing and pork consuming state, the situation in China and how quickly the disease can be controlled is likely to have a major impact on the global pork industry.