The year 2014 was the year African Swine Fever (ASF) was introduced into four European Union countries. In total, 251 outbreaks have been reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Most of these concerned infected wild boars – in total ten farms were found to be infected.
The Pig Progress map shows exactly where the outbreaks occurred in the EU from the first outbreak on January 24, 2014 until now.
To start with the good news – the last report of a domesticated pig infected by the virus dates from mid-September 2014. A backyard pig farm having 43 pigs in total, in Latvia's Valka County, was hit by the virus. In total, six animals were tested positive, after which all the pigs were culled.
Farms & villages
As said, in total 10 (backyard) farms were infected by the virus. Most of these farms were rather small with a maximum of 200 animals. The only exception was Rupinskai Farm in Utena County, Lithuania, which had just over 19,000 pigs and found itself forced to be cleaned.
In addition, Latvia reported the virus to have occurred in about 30 villages, which usually led to the culling of the pigs present – this would concern amounts between 1 to 56 pigs.
As is well known, the virus thrives in warmer weather. This was illustrated by the rapid increase of outbreak numbers as from June/July 2014. Before June, only six incidents had been reported. After September, no more domesticated pigs were found infected. Only reports of infected wild boars reached the OIE.
Interestingly, however, is that outbreaks amongst wild boars continued to be reported during autumn and the onset of winter, as in October, November and December still over 100 reports of ASF were reported to the OIE from Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This might be partly due to increased surveillance and awareness among veterinary staff and gamekeepers. The latest report was of a one-year-old male wild boar, found dead about 1 km from the border with Belarus, on New Year's Eve. Laboratory testing confirmed that the animal had died of ASF.
All infected wild boars have been shot or found dead in contained regions close to the borders with Russia and Belarus, implying that the virus has not spread any further geographically into the EU. In this regard the EU policy to contain the virus in certain zones appears to be successful.