ASF update: Virus reaches Bulgaria; 8th outbreak in China

03-09-2018 | | |
Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

African Swine Fever (ASF) has now also been confirmed in Bulgaria for the 1st time. In the meantime, China has reported 3 outbreaks of ASF within 24 hours, bringing the total reported at 8.

Bulgarian authorities reported the disease in 7 backyard pigs on a farm close to the Romanian border on Friday, August 31, another country where hundreds of cases of ASF have been confirmed. The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency said the 7 infected animals were discovered on a farm in the north-eastern village of Tutrakantsi.

All pigs in the village will be culled

Tests confirmed ASF in the pigs and as a precaution all 23 pigs in the village will be culled plus a 3 km quarantine zone will be established around the perimeter of the village. All pigs within that zone must be slaughtered per order of the food safety agency.

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Authorities have also banned the trading or transport of pigs in that same protective region. In addition, the trade and transport of pigs has also been banned in the region. Across Europe, more than 4,800 cases of ASF in both wild and domestic pigs have been reported so far this year, about 700 more than in 2017 in total.

8th country in the EU with ASF

Bulgaria is the 8th country in the European Union where African Swine Fever has been detected since the virus started spreading from Armenia and Georgia in 2007. In the EU, the virus has also emerged in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic.

Pig production in Bulgaria – what is it like?

Just last month Bulgaria had started to build a fence extending to 133 km on its land border with Romania to try and prevent the crossing of wild boars that could spread the ASF disease onto its territory.

Bulgarian governor Stoyan Pasev is calling an emergency meeting of the regional crisis management council to decide on best practices moving forward to try and contain the disease and prevent any further spread.

China: ASF outbreak number 6, 7 and 8

According to press agency Reuters, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has reported 3 ASF outbreaks shortly after each other.

2 of them occurred in the city of Xuancheng, in Anhui province. The city is about 70 km southeast of Wuhu city, where an ASF case was reported last week. In a case reported on Sunday, 134 pigs had died. In the other, reported on Monday, a farm of 308 pigs had been struck, with 235 pigs affected by the virus.

Monday night, the press agency reported another outbreak on a small farm in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. The city is at about 150 km west of Shanghai. This farm had 97 pigs of which 9 had died and 12 had fallen ill.

Pig and pork transport ban in China

As a consequence of the outbreaks in Anhui province, China imposed a ban on Sunday on transporting pigs and pork products from provinces which have reported outbreaks of ASF and will shut live hog markets in the regions. According to Reuters, the measures are the most drastic since China discovered the virus just over a month ago.

Until now, authorities had only stopped transportation of pigs and products and shut live markets in and around infected areas. It is expected that prices of pigs will now go up.

According to the Chinese agricultural ministry, more than 38,000 pigs have now been culled in an attempt to contain the outbreaks.

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Chris McCullough Freelance multi-media journalist