New outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) have been reported within the past month in domestic pigs in Mali, Burundi and Ukraine.
First reported to the World Organisation for AnimalHealth (OIE) in late February, the outbreak in West African country, Mali, began on January 1. A village herd of more than 4,000 pigs in Ségou was affected, with 178 animals showing signs of the disease. Forty-four of them died and a further 35 were destroyed. The source of the infection is uncertain but it is thought to have been illegal movements of pigs and/or swill feeding. The outbreak was in a region that borders Burkina Faso, where the disease was reported in 2014.
There have been two outbreaks of ASF at different locations in the Ngozi region of Burundi in East Africa. In both cases, herds of mixed domestic pigs are involved – a total of 4,541 animals. It is reported that 144 pigs showed symptoms, 126 died and four were destroyed. Source of the infection has been attributed to the virus surviving since previous outbreaks in November of 2015.
Since initial outbreaks in July of 2015, the veterinary authority in Zimbabwe reports that the quarantine measures applied in the affected Dande valley area have been effective, and there have been no new outbreaks of ASF.
In mid-March, a new outbreak of ASF was reported in Ukraine. It was in a small backyard herd in Kirovograd in the center of the country, causing the death of 15 animals and the destruction of a further 14. The source of infection is unknown.
ASF continues in Europe’s wild boars
ASF was first reported in wild boar in Europe during 2014, and new cases have been reported regularly since, with Estonia and Latvia most affected recently.
Over the last month, there have been more than 100 outbreaks in eastern and central Estonia, with 183 dead wild boars confirmed positive for the ASF virus.
Across the east of Latvia, 127 wild boars have died or been destroyed following confirmation of ASF. According to Baltic Course, one of the animals was found within a town – the first time a case has been found at such a location in Latvia. The same source reports that since the first ASF outbreak in June of 2014, 14,000 domestic pigs have been culled in the country to stop the virus spreading, and that EUR2.3 million (US$2.6 million) has been paid to farmers in compensation.
Lithuania has reported 30 new cases of ASF in wild boar in recent weeks, and there have been two in the Podlaskie region of Poland.
In Russia, five wild boars have tested positive for the ASF virus in Ryazan oblast, and one in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic in the North Caucasus.
Earlier this year, researchers from the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland announced that they have used advanced genetic techniques to produce pigs that may be resilient to African swine fever.