African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed on Romania’s largest pig breeding farm where 140,000 animals are being culled.
The virus was confirmed on the farm, which consists of 3 adjacent properties in the southern county of Braila, after water samples were sent to the authorities.
Romania’s national veterinary authority ANSVSA’s office in the affected region confirmed the outbreak on the farm owned by the Romanian company Tebu Consult.
Existence of ASF virus at 2nd largest farm in Europe
Gicu Dragan, from the Bucharest Diagnostic and Animal Health Institute, said: “The Bucharest Diagnostic and Animal Health Institute confirmed the existence of the ASF Fever virus at Tebu Consult, the 2nd largest farm in Europe.”
He continued to say, “I sent the samples to the national reference laboratory on Friday morning and the results confirmed the existence of the virus, and on Monday we will go to the euthanasia of the pigs on this farm.”
Smallholders dumping dead pigs
Mr Dragan said the farms had been using water sourced from the nearby River Danube in the pig houses. The official added that reports suggest some smallholders had been dumping dead pigs into the Danube which may have caused the ASF to be spread by river water.
He added: “We’ve been focusing on mainland and the virus might have emerged from the waters.”
Around 100,000 pigs have, so far, been culled in Romania with hundreds of cases confirmed in backyards, smallholdings and several larger farms in the south of Romania.
Number of ASF cases up to 725
According to ANSVSA the number of African Swine Fever outbreaks confirmed in Romania has reached 725 and the number of affected counties increased to 10.
Cases of ASF have been reported in 156 localities, mainly in small household farms. However, 8 large pig farms in Braila and Tulcea counties were also affected and the number of animals culled reached 117,700.
Virus present in 2 different zones in Romania
The virus has been more prevalent in south east Romania, in Tulcea, Braila, Galati, Constanta, Ialomita, Calarasi and Ilfov counties. It is also present in north west Romania, in Satu-Mare, Bihor and Salaj counties.
ASF is spreading rapidly across Eastern Europe since 2007, affecting Hungary, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Romania.
This particular farm in Romania is also the 2nd largest pig farm in Europe.
ASF surrounded by scandals
The recent series of outbreaks in Romania have been surrounded by scandals, Pig Progress’ sister title Boerderij reported recently. Often, the pigs that are affected by the virus are not being destroyed, but just buried.
Dead pigs in a ditch after they were culled near Lanurile, southern Romania. Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP
In addition, according to the newspaper Libertatea, a local pig producer who is the son of a politician, allegedly brought over 10,000 swine to a slaughterhouse just before an outbreak of ASF was confirmed in his region.
Not enough information about ASF
Romanian media in general complain that ANSVSA is not doing enough to inform local producers about the dangers of ASF and its movement.
Last but not least, there are questions being asked about the relationship between one of the top officials within ANSVSA and the owner of a large disinfection company. Disinfecting is a remedy against ASF that is recommended widely in Romania.