Update on ASF in Eastern Europe and First Report of ASF in Hungary
The International Disease Monitoring team have produced an update on ASF in Eastern Europe. This is published on the Defra website https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/703363/uoa-asf-eastern-europe-20180425.pdf
The update indicates that the first report of ASF in wild boar in Hungary has been made to OIE. This is another significant development in the continued westward spread of ASF in eastern and central European Union Member States since ASF was first detected in the Eastern EU in January 2014.
Hungary has been monitoring dead wild boar for ASF in Eastern counties near borders with the Ukraine and Poland since 2016 with border checks for pork/pork products and increased passive surveillance in the rest of country from 2017.
This detection of ASF was, however, outside this surveillance zone which is concerning. It means that either infection in wild boar nearer the border has been missed, or that the case results from other means of transmission such as illegal movement of infected pigs or feeding of infected pork/pork products. According to information from the competent authority, the most likely source is considered to be contaminated meat or food waste brought in by non-EU workers, as was suspected to be the case for the geographical jump to the Czech Republic in 2017.
This continued westward spread of ASF emphasises the need to raise awareness amongst all pig keepers across Europe of the need for them to take stringent external biosecurity precautions to reduce the risk of introduction. These messages, and the importance of not feeding kitchen and catering waste have been highlighted in recent public communications and passing these on to UK pig farmers and keepers is vital https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pig-keepers-warned-not-to-feed-kitchen-scraps-to-pigs-due-to-african-swine-fever-risk.
Providing dedicated clothing and boots for workers and visitors, limiting visitors to a minimum, and preventing outside vehicles which may be contaminated from coming on to the farm, are all valuable procedures to reinforce.
Anything you can do to promote these messages to your pig-keeping clients, whether small-scale or commercial, would be valuable in addressing the risk of introduction of ASF to the UK. Raising their awareness of the situation in Eastern Europe as described in the update is important and there is a useful map illustrating ASF reported in the region since October 2017.