Information on the current animal disease situation can be found in the respective latest issue of the monthly newsletter Radar Bulletin (in German language).
African Swine Fever (ASF) is a notifiable animal disease which affects domestic pigs and wild boar. In its African countries of origin the ASF virus is transmitted by soft ticks. These are negligible in Central Europe. Here, transmission occurs through direct contact with infected animals (secretions, blood, semen), ingestion of food waste, pork products or preparations and other indirect routes of transmission (vehicles, contaminated equipment including hunting gear, agricultural tools and machinery, clothing). Contact with blood is the most efficient route of transmission. After infection the animals develop very severe, but unspecific general symptoms. ASP is no zoonosis, i.e. a disease which can be transmitted from animals to humans, and therefore represents no danger for humans.
More information on ASF can be found in the respective FLI information (download right column of this webpage).
Risk Assessment, 12.07.2017
African swine fever (ASF) was a notifiable disease that was originally limited to Africa.
First cases of African swine fever (ASF) were reported in Georgia in 2007. Subsequently, the disease spread into the neighboring countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and to the Russian Federation (RF). By the end of 2012, 426 outbreaks had been recorded both in the domestic pig sector and in the wild boar population in the European part of the RF (FAO EMPRES, 2013). In 2014 and 2015, additional outbreaks were recorded in this region. Between 2012 and 2014, the disease has spread in westerly direction with incursions of ASF into the Ukraine (backyard pigs and wild boar) and Belarus (backyard pigs, situation in wild boar unknown) and meanwhile into the EU member states Lithuania, Poland, Latvia and Estonia. In these four member states, numerous ASF infected wild boars have been found as well as ASF infected domestic pigs (commercial and backyard). In Sardinia, ASF has been occurring endemically since 1978. First cases of ASF in wild boar were also reported in the Czech Republic on 27 June 2017.
In view of the most recently detected ASF cases in the Czech Republic and the wide distribution of ASF within the territory of the RF in the domestic pig sector and the wild boar population, and the incursions into the neighboring countries Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia and Estonia, the risk of introduction of ASF into the wild boar population of Germany by transport vehicles and travelers has been evaluated. Since ASF has taken a leap over a long distance to the Czech Republic, the risk of introduction into Germany has increased as one more region is affected.
Given the newly occurred cases in the Czech Republic and the situation in the Baltic countries and Poland, the risk of ASP introduction into the German wild boar population is estimated to be higher than an incursion into the domestic pig sector. In this context, the risk factors such as the high wild boar density together with frequent pig holdings using insufficient bio safety measures in neighbouring eastern countries along with the excellent transport infrastructure (highway and railway network, navigation waterways and air traffic) that promotes access to Germany are playing a decisive role.
The risk of entry of ASF into Germany through illegal transportation and disposal of contaminated material is estimated as high. The risk of entry of contaminated pork meat and from pork derived products by vehicles or people along the main traffic routes is judged as high in the context of a “worst case scenario”. The risk of entry via hunting tourism in affected areas and carrying back trophies from such areas is estimated as moderate. The risk of direct spread through infected wild boar is assessed as moderate.
Full-length risk assessment dated July 12, 2017 (in German language only)
Since the beginning of 2014, cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) have been detected in wild boar in the Eastern European countries Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Outbreaks have also been observed in domestic pig holdings, among them smallholdings, but also larger ones, e.g. one holding in Lithuania with approximately 20,000 animals. In the affected regions (see map, updated weekly), restriction measures for the control of Classical Swine Fever pursuant to EU regulations are in force.
As all initial outbreaks in these countries occurred in the vicinity of the Belorussian border, it is assumed that ASP was introduced into the Baltic States and Poland from Belarus. Russia has reported ASP cases repeatedly for several years. As no data are available, the situation in Belarus is hard to assess. Further cases have been reported from Ukraine.
An introduction into other countries of the European Union cannot be excluded. The virus could be spread further by incompletely cooked meat products (ham, salami etc.) and by transportation vehicles returning from affected regions. Particularly (illegal) feeding of food waste is a source of infection.
The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut has elaborated a risk assessment on the possible introduction of African Swine Fever which is updated as required based on the situation.