Authorities in India officially reported African swine fever (ASF) to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) last month after tests confirmed pigs on several farms (shown by the red dots) were positive for the disease in the far northeastern states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (corner between China, Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh). In all, the official OIE report showed 10,920 infected pigs in the affected districts of both states and deaths of 3,701 pigs with 4,199 cases. The report further showed a mortality rate of 34% and a fatality rate at 88% due to ASF.
According to information from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture reporting on the world health situation, there are new suspected cases of ASF in wild boar found dead in the district of Siang, in Arunachal Pradesh, where outbreaks had occurred on pig farms. Six wild boar carcasses have been found in a forest in the district, and samples have been taken for analysis at the country's national reference laboratory.
Western Poland Sees First ASF Case in Backyard Pigs
On June 15, the Polish Central Veterinary Inspectorate reported 23 pigs and one sow on a backyard farm were confirmed ASF-positive by the country’s National Veterinary Institute, the National Research Institute in Puławy. The animals were found on a farm near the village of Ratowice, which is about 21 km (13 miles) east of the closest known cases of ASF in wild boar. This is about 125 km (about 78 air miles) from the border with Germany, the EU’s largest producer of pork and the second largest EU pork exporter to non-EU countries after Spain.
The ASF virus has been present in eastern Poland since 2014. It was discovered for the first time in a separate cluster in wild boar in western Poland last November. Since then, it has reportedly spread to 720 sites in three provinces in the western part of the country.
The Polish government plans to cull 90% of the country's wild boar after a special law was passed last December, giving Polish hunting associations new powers in culling wild boar.
Germans Stay Vigilant; See ASF Risk as High
Meanwhile, German officials and producers have been quite worried with their eastern neighbor’s ASF status. As in Poland, hunters in Germany are trying to reduce the wild boar population, despite what appears to be an uphill battle (see video). ASF has been confirmed in wild boar as close as 10 km (6 miles) to the German border.
The German states of Brandenburg and Saxony have both built fences along the border with Poland to prevent wild boars from entering. Saxony also recently heightened measures for hunters, who must now report every wild boar found dead and any wild boars that have been killed. The hunters must tell the relevant local food inspection and veterinary office in the districts where the boars were found or shot.
The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) is especially concerned about the wild boar situation in Poland with the last cases “only about 10 kilometers from the German border," said Elke Reinking, a spokesperson for FLI, Germany's federal research institute for animal health.
In a May 2020 publication from FLI, the organization puts Germany’s risk for getting ASF from other European countries as moderate or high. It says, “the risk of entry of ASF into Germany through illegal transportation and disposal of contaminated material is estimated as high. The risk of entry of contaminated pork meat and from pork derived products by vehicles or people along the main traffic routes is judged as high in the context of a ‘worst case scenario.’ The risk of entry via hunting tourism in affected areas and by carrying back trophies from such areas is estimated as moderate. The risk of direct spread through infected wild boar is assessed as high in areas close to the affected regions in Belgium and Poland.”
China, Neighboring Countries Still Struggling
Whether in mainland China, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines or nearby nations, ASF continues to cause issues in both domestic and wild pig populations. Vietnam seems to have had a setback after some earlier success in curbing ASF. Recent reports indicate 4,000 pigs have been culled this year in Vietnam due to ASF. Officials place the blame on poor biosecurity and the failure to report sick pigs to the proper authorities.
However, the OIE has reported known ASF cases in Mongolia, Cambodia and Myanmar have been resolved, which offers a glimmer of good news from Asia.
Watch Farm Journal's PORK's webinar, "Don't Take Your Eyes Off of African Swine Fever" with Gordon Spronk, Pipestone Veterinary Services; Patrick Webb, National Pork Board; and Liz Wagstrom, National Pork Producers Council.
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