ANALYSIS - Russian veterinary authorities have warned that the spread of African swine fever in Ukraine poses a severe threat of the disease spreading further into Eastern Europe into Romania and Moldova.
A report from the veterinary authority Rosselkhoznador said the disease is spreading south and west in Ukraine and the growing number of uncontrolled incidents in domestic pigs is threatening to cross the border.
Between 2012 and 1 July this year there have been 62 cases of the disease reported in Ukraine, and the Russian veterinary services says that the key to the spread of the disease in the most recent cases is human.
The authority added that there is a lack of effective monitoring of the situation in the wild and the situation regarding the disease in the wild boar population in Ukraine is unknown.
The threat to the pig population in Romania and Moldova is heightened because most pigs are kept on small domestic farms rather than in large enterprises where the biosecurity controls would be higher.
The veterinary authority said that in other countries in Eastern Europe – Poland, Lithuania and Estonia – where the disease had started to be contained and was largely limited to the wild boar population, further outbreaks had been reported in domestic pigs.
In one incident on a farm with a pig herd of 260, laboratory tests had shown that in two out of five pigs tests with the disease ASF virus antibodies had been found, which Rosselkhoznador said indicated that the virus had been circulating in the herd for some time.
In Russia, a meeting between the Russian Agriculture Ministry and veterinary and other authorities over the control of African swine fever in the main production and processing areas in the country, called for tighter controls and more cooperation between departments to control the spread of the disease.
The meeting specifically discussed the eight regions Central and Volga districts that have more than 60 per cent of Russia’s total pig population and 80 per cent of the pigs that pass through processing plants.
The Russian Federal First Deputy Agriculture Minister Dzhambulat Khatuov said that the control measures in several of the regions were not sufficiently streamlined in the way the animals were registered and there were concerns over the controls over the movement of animals and animal products and the way the processing and slaughter plants were registered.
Mr Khatuov called for a detailed report on the effectiveness of the measures being taken to stabilise the ASF outbreaks and for cooperation between the enforcement authorities, agencies and organisations and called for more measures to clamp down on unauthorised trade in animals and animal products.
He said the local authorities needed to re-register the processing and slaughter plants and tighten controls on large pig farms and create ASF-free buffer zones around them.