In their last update (Aug 31st) the UK's DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Raised The Risk Of Importing ASF To UK To `Medium' after the virus appeared in wild boar in Belgium.
Reintroduced into Europe in 2007, over the past couple of years we've seen a marked increase in ASF reports from Eastern Europe, prompting DEFRA - 12 months earlier (August 2017) - to raise the risk of seeing the virus imported into the UK to `Low'.Eradicated in Europe (with the exception of the island of Sardinia) since 1978, ASF was reintroduced to the Republic of Georgia in 2007 (see African Swine Fever Virus Isolate, Georgia, 2007),possibly brought in by ASFV contaminated feed products.
Within 6 months of its arrival, the virus was detected in the Russian Federation (cite), and by 2014 had been detected in 4 EU countries.
Although wild boar, and some varieties of ticks (primarily O. moubata and O. erraticus) are a known reservoirs and important vectors for the virus, poor biosecurity, along with the legal and illegal transport and sale of pigs and pork products (including contaminated pig feed and bedding) are also contributors to its spread.While ASF does not pose a direct human health risk, it has to potential to be devastating to pork production, and could even impact food security in some nations. Today DEFRA has released an updated Outbreak and Risk Assessment on the spread of ASF in the EU, portions of which I've excerpted below:
Updated Outbreak Assessment #18
African Swine fever in Eastern Europe
2 November 2018
Ref: VITT/1200 ASF in Eastern Europe
Since our last report on the 31 st August 2018, there have been more cases of ASF in domestic pigs and wild boar in Eastern Europe with the first cases in wild boar in Bulgaria. The numbers of outbreaks in domestic pigs (backyard and commercial) in September and October are summarised in the table below for each country.
Bulgaria: No more outbreaks have been reported in domestic pigs since the first occurrence in August. However, there have been several outbreaks in backyard pigs and wild boar in southern Romania along the border with Bulgaria (see map) and spread into Bulgaria would not be unexpected. It is therefore not surprising that a case in wild boar was reported in northern Bulgaria on the Black Sea in Drobrich on 31 October. This involved four positive animals in hunted wild boar in the municipality of Kavarna. It is therefore likely that ASF is well established in the wild boar population in north-east Bulgaria and outbreaks may be expected in domestic pigs.
ASF is continuing to spread in Eastern Europe, particularly in Romania, and last month the disease was reported in hunted wild boar in north-eastern Bulgaria, probably through spread from infected wild boar in southern Romania. While ASF has now spread across much of Romania, particularly in the south (see map), the monthly number of outbreaks in domestic pigs in Romania appears to be reducing considerably over the last two months (see Table).
Similarly in Poland the number of outbreaks in domestic pigs was greatly reduced in September with none in October. Thus, overall between July and October, the total number of outbreaks has reduced by four-fold. However, many cases of ASF have been reported in wild boar in Poland particularly in the north near the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and along the eastern border with Belarus. ASF cases are still being reported in the Heves region of Hungary with multiple wild boar cases in the Baltic States and also in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. The winter typically sees an increase in ASF cases, and this may yet occur.
Despite the large reduction in the number of ASF outbreaks in domestic pigs in Eastern Europe since July, the disease is still present across much of the region with large numbers of cases in wild boar and is still spreading. The risk therefore remains at MEDIUM for the entry of contaminated or infected products into UK both over the last
month and looking forward, given the ongoing situation in Eastern Europe, and recent reports of ASF in wild boar in Belgium.
The risk of exposure to the pig population in the UK is still dependent on the level of biosecurity on pig premises and is still considered to be LOW, although the situation is being kept under review.(Continue . . . )