African swine fever strikes Romania’s largest pig farm

African swine fever (ASF) has been confirmed on Romania’s largest pig breeding farm where 140,000 animals are being culled
calendar icon 28 August 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

The deadly ASF virus was confirmed on the farm, which consists of three adjacent properties in the southern county of Braila, after water samples were sent to the authorities. Romania’s national veterinary authority, ANSVSA, confirmed the outbreak on the farm owned by the Romanian company, TEBU Consult.

Gicu Dragan, from the Bucharest Diagnostic and Animal Health Institute, said: "The Bucharest Diagnostic and Animal Health Institute confirmed the existence of the African swine fever virus at TEBU Consult, the second largest farm in Europe.

"I sent the samples to the national reference laboratory on Friday morning and the results confirmed the existence of the virus, and on Monday we will get to the euthanasia of the pigs on this farm.”

Mr Dragan said the farms had been using water sourced from the nearby river Danube in the pig houses. The official added that reports suggest some smallholders had been dumping dead pigs into the Danube which may have caused the ASF to be spread by river water.

He added: “We’ve been focusing on mainland and the virus might have emerged from the waters.”

Around 100,000 pigs have been culled in Romania so far with hundreds of cases confirmed in backyards, smallholdings and several larger farms in the south of Romania. According to ANSVSA, the number of African swine fever outbreaks confirmed in Romania has reached 725, and the number of affected counties increased to 10.

Cases of ASF have been reported in 156 localities, mainly in small household farms. However, eight large pig farms in Braila and Tulcea counties were also affected and the number of animals culled reached 117,700.

The virus has been more prevalent in southeast Romania, in Tulcea, Braila, Galati, Constanta, Ialomita, Calarasi and Ilfov counties. It is also present in northwest Romania, in Satu-Mare, Bihor and Salaj counties.

ASF is spreading rapidly across Eastern Europe at an alarming rate affecting Hungary, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Romania. This particular farm in Romania is also the second largest pig farm in Europe.

ASF is transmitted by ticks and direct contact between animals, and can also travel via contaminated food, animal feed and people moving from one place to another. ASF does not affect humans and the virus that causes it has been shown to remain infectious for at least 30 days in uninhabited pig pens, over four months in pork products, including salted dried hams, and indefinitely in frozen pig carcasses.

Words Chris McCullough

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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