New cases of African swine fever: is the West at risk?

24 November 2017, at 12:00am

With new cases of African swine fever emerging throughout Eastern and Central Europe this year, including the recent cases identified in Poland, how close are we to a potentially catastrophic outbreak in dense, domestic pig populations?

African swine fever map 2017

With other cases of African swine fever (ASF) emerging on the Western borders of infected regions, it would appear that the virus is continuing its Westerly path.

It was reported on November 17 2017 that two positive cases of ASF were recorded in wild boar found dead around 140 km from the eastern border of Poland. The boar were recorded around the same time but were found at different sites suggesting a wider infected population. Westward movement of the disease to previously unrestricted areas of Poland could be disastrous as this takes ASF closer to areas that have large, densely-populated domestic pig populations.

Pig health bodies are reinforcing the messages of their ASF hygiene and sanitisation campaigns; people should not be taking risks by travelling between infected and non-infected regions without proper sterilisation of clothing, shoes, equipment and vehicles. Proper disposal of food waste is critical to preventing infection of wild swine populations that could potentially infect domestic herds. The feeding of food waste to pigs is illegal in many regions, and is strongly discouraged in those where it is legal.

Click here to read The Pig Site’s most recent update on ASF