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Bosnia-Herzegovina records first case of African swine fever

26th Jun 2023 / By Alistair Driver

The Balkans country of Bosnia-Herzegovina has become the latest in Europe to confirm African swine fever for the first time. 

ASF symptom 2The virus was confirmed on June 22 in one pig on a farm near Bijeljina in the north east of the country, close to the border with Serbia, which has recorded lots of case in the past year or so. 

According to a report by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), there were no other pigs on the farm.

The European Food Safety Authority recently reported that the number of outbreaks of ASF in pigs and wild boar in Europe fell significantly during 2022. Eight EU countries – Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – and four non-EU neighbouring countries – Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine – reported outbreaks in domestic pigs.

But ASF outbreaks among domestic pigs in the EU decreased by 79% last year, with marked falls in Romania, Poland and Bulgaria. Romania remained the most affected EU country with 327 outbreaks, representing 87% of the total EU outbreaks. Serbia was the most affected non-EU country, with 107 outbreaks.

The disease was notified in wild boar in 11 countries, with 40% fewer cases reported 2022, the first time the number has fallen in the area since its introduction in 2014.

The virus was recently discovered to have made a new ‘jump’ in Italy, probably as a result of human spread.

ASF was recently confirmed on a domestic pig farm and in four wild boar in Calabria, the third region of Italy to be affected since the first incursion in January 2022, after Piedmonte and Lazio.

UK risk 

In its latest update UK ASF risk update, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) said it considers that the risk of entry of ASF virus in live animals and products of animal origin (POAO) to the UK from affected countries, remains at medium (occurs regularly).

However, the risk of ASF entering via the human-mediated pathway is considered to remain at high (occurs very often).

APHA described the potential high risk for non-commercial imports of pork products from ASF affected areas, such as Romania, as of ‘high concern’. Evidence from port inspections suggest there are ‘several vehicles’ illegally bringing pork meat the country from affected areas.

“Some instances involved large quantities of porcine POAO, some of which appear to be home-slaughtered and arrived in Great Britain from an undisclosed origin as a non-commercial import, with poor levels of biosecurity and food hygiene,” it said.