ASF situation deteriorates in Bulgaria, Moldova

New outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) have been reported in domestic pigs in Bulgaria, Moldova and Russia, and more European wild boar have tested positive for the virus.

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Further outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) have been officially reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in the past week by the Republic of Moldova and Russia.

Just one week after the veterinary authority in Moldova reported the return of the disease after an absence of four months, the virus has been detected in four more herds of domestic pigs in the same district, Cahul, which is in the south of the country and borders Romania. A total of 13 pigs died from the disease in these latest outbreaks, and a further 103 have been destroyed.

ASF has also broken out for the first time in the district of Nisporni, which also borders Romania but lies in the west of Moldova. According to the authority’s report to the OIE, one dead pig in a backyard in the district has tested positive for the virus.

In Volgograd oblast in the Southern Federal District of Russia, the ASF virus has been detected in a backyard herd of 14 pigs after four of the animals died, according to the latest report from the Russian veterinary authority to the OIE.

Bulgarian ASF situation 'very difficult'

In a television interview, Bulgaria’s agriculture minister Desislava Taneva has described the ASF situation in her country as “very difficult,” reports Radio Bulgaria.

While the OIE has not received official reports of new cases, local media in Bulgaria are reporting new ASF outbreaks in the north of the country.

At a recent meeting with President Rumen Radev, Taneva put the number of confirmed ASF outbreaks in Bulgaria’s domestic pigs at 26, according to news agency Novinite. Five of the outbreaks were confirmed on commercial farms on a single day at Popino in the province of Silistra, and at Svishtov in Veliko Tarnovo. Both provinces are in the north of Bulgaria, and border Romania.

In the neighboring province of Ruse, officials are checking that all farmers in the area of Byala have complied with an order to cull all of their pigs, reports Novinite, or they will be fined. The order followed the recent detection of the virus in a sick pig. Elsewhere in Ruse, all pigs will be culled and buried in the coming days after wild boar were found to be positive for the ASF virus.

Bulgarian farmers are to begin a series of protests against the compulsory slaughter of their animals.

Mayors of more than 30 villages in the province of Pazardzhik in central Bulgaria have refused to allow the compulsory slaughter of domestic pigs, reports Sofia Globe, and demanded that Taneva cancel the order. No outbreaks of ASF have been reported in the area, they say.

Up to July 29, there have been 647 confirmed outbreaks of ASF among domestic pigs in Europe so far this year, according to the European Commission (EC). By far worst affected has been Romania (553 outbreaks), followed by Poland (30), Ukraine (27), Bulgaria (22) and Lithuania (12).

Greece, United Kingdom take precautions to keep out ASF

After initially stepping up controls on its border with Bulgaria after reports of ASF outbreaks in its northern neighbor, Greece last week imposed an immediate ban on imports of all Bulgarian pork products, reports Novinite. No outbreaks have been detected in Greece, but the rapid spread of the disease in Bulgaria lies behind the move, and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is being kept fully informed about the situation. Greek pig farmers have been urged to step up biosecurity, and certification of animals is being checked on arrival at slaughterhouses.

In the United Kingdom, a new campaign has been initiated at borders aimed to keep ASF out of the country. According to the agriculture department, Defra, new posters at ports and airports are being targeted at anyone who has the potential to introduce the disease to the U.K., while border officials are stepping up searches of freight, passengers and luggage for illegally imported meats.

ASF in European wild boar: Disease returns to northwest Ukraine

After an absence of four months, ASF has returned to the northwest of Ukraine. Three animals found dead in Volyn oblast at the end of July have tested positive for the virus, according to the official report to the OIE. Volyn borders Poland and Belarus.

Also reporting new ASF outbreaks in wild boar to the OIE over the past week were Hungary (38 outbreaks, including a cluster of 26), Latvia (8) and Russia (2).

Up to the end of July, there have been 3,657 confirmed outbreaks of ASF among European wild boar this year, according to the EC. Poland reported the most outbreaks (1,434), followed by Hungary (786), Belgium (478), Romania (334), Lithuania (320) and Latvia (195).

View our continuing coverage of the African swine fever outbreak.

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