ASF Russia: new outbreaks hit Siberia

29-03-2023 | |
ASF Russia
It is already clear that the new outbreak was only the tip of the iceberg. Photo: Fotostudio Atelier 68

The Russian veterinary body Rosselhoznadzor registered a series of African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia. This sparks new fears about the biological safety in the Russian pig industry.

Rosselhoznadzor registered the first outbreak in the village of Gorodok. A resident reported a dead domestic pig on March 22. Laboratory studies confirmed that the pig died from ASF. In response the veterinary authorities culled 200 pigs, the village’s entire pig population.

“The carcasses are all burned”, the regional administration said in a statement. “We destroyed manure, feed residues, inventory, dilapidated premises, and wooden floors as well. We will compensate farmers for the losses.”

Tip of the iceberg

It is already clear that the new outbreak was only the tip of the iceberg. A few days earlier, in a meat processing plant in the Karatuzsky district of the Krasnoyarsk Krai, a routine inspection showed the presence of the ASF genome in production process. About 16 tonnes of meat products were confiscated and destroyed, along with the carcasses of several animals.

The source of that outbreak might have already been identified. Rosselhoznadzor reported that the products were purchased a few days before in the city of Minusinsk, in Krasnoyarsk Krai. The regional authorities said that Rosselhoznadzor already began counting pigs in the backyard farms, preparing for anti-epizootic measures in that area.

Not a surprise

Siberia is a vast, poorly populated part of Russia that was relatively safe in terms of ASF in the past few years. Yuri Kovalev, chairman of the Russian Union of pork producers (RUPP), told the local press that, in general, the ASF situation in Russia remains under control.

“To think that the problem can disappear completely would be naive,” Kovalev told the Russian newspaper Agroinvestor”. “The fact that disease outbreaks from time to time occur both in the wild and in backyard farms is not a surprise for us. The state is actively dealing with these outbreaks, strengthening measures to prevent them.”

Infected feed

Tthe outbreaks possibly occured due to infected feed. Kovalev: “Basically, Krasnoyarsk Krai is a reliable manufacturer in terms of industrial pig production. The emergence of ASF in backyard farms is a signal for businesses to strengthen their biosecurity. When a region is prosperous in epizootic terms for long enough, even though the industrial sector takes all measures to ensure biosecurity, there may be some relaxation due to the human factor.”

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Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent