ASF Update: Romania identifies new cases

Reports are emerging of a new outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in Tulcea, Romania - close to the Ukrainian border. The Pig Site has compiled a checklist of practical measures that can stop the virus in its tracks and keep your swine herd safe
calendar icon 12 June 2018
clock icon 4 minute read

With a continuous stream of ASF cases being identified in Europe in 2017 and early 2018, biosecurity measures have been heightened but outbreaks continue to occur.

The most recent report (Successful Farming) has emerged from Tulcea, Romania, where a herd of backyard pigs, close to the Ukrainian border, have been identified to be infected with the ASF virus, Asfarviridae. Two outbreaks were identified in Romania earlier this year. The last case reported in Europe was in Hungary.

The virus does not cause harm to humans or other animals, however, this does not mean that humans and other animals cannot spread the virus as carriers; ASF is commonly carried by arthropods, such as the soft-bodied tick, through uptake of blood from infected pigs.

Contamination generally occurs via direct contact with tissue and bodily fluids from infected or carrier pigs, including discharges from the nose, mouth, urine and faeces or infected semen. It also spreads through transport and consumption of contaminated pork products, and some cases have originated from failure to comply with biosecurity standards by feeding waste food to domestic pigs. It is believed that a highly pathogenic strain of ASF was introduced to domestic pigs and, subsequently, wild boar populations in the port of Poti, Georgia, in 2007 when waste food from a ship originating in South Africa was fed to local pigs.

This being the case for many outbreaks, it is important to maintain strict biosecurity controls on commercial, small-scale and backyard farms, whatever the herd size.

Steps for prevention

Food waste

  • Do not take pig meat onto farms, or restrict all food (and consumption of food) to a canteen.
  • Do not feed domestic pigs food waste; this is illegal in the UK, other EU regions and some states within the US.
  • Where ‘permitted garbage feeding’ is legal in US states, pigs fed this way are prohibited from exportation.
  • Do not leave food waste exposed for wild swine species to access. Dispose of food waste properly.
  • Follow rules and regulations on disposal of food waste at ferry ports and airports.

Borders and transportation

  • Check infected regions before import of goods that could potentially be contaminated.
  • Advise and educate people on the risks of bringing back pork products from infected regions.


  • Abide by strict biosecurity rules.
  • All staff on farm should be inducted onto a strict programme of hand and equipment sanitisation before and after contact with pigs.
  • Provide the means for staff and visitors to thoroughly sanitise their hands and equipment. Restricting visitor access to infected pigs and herds is advised.


  • Isolate potentially infected pigs and herds with strict ring-fencing of farms and a one-entrance, one-exit policy.
  • If bringing new pigs into the herd, allow for an extended quarantine period to ensure that incoming pigs are safe to introduce to the herd, and to prevent the existing herd from infecting new individuals.

Wild boar

  • Ensure that wild boar, warthogs and wild pigs, and materials potentially contaminated by such wild species do not come into contact with domestic pigs.

To learn more about African swine fever, visit The Pig Site Knowledge Centre

To check any signs you are worried about, head to The Pig Site Disease Problem Solver

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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