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New ASF Outbreaks in Russia and Africa

16 January 2012, at 12:14pm

ANALYSIS - Recently announced outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in three regions of Russia have put Belarus on alert for the disease, according to Jackie Linden, senior editor of ThePigSite. There has also been an outbreak in South Africa.

Following what is described as 'the rapid deterioration of the epizootic situation' of ASF in Russia, the Ministry of Agriculture and Foodstuffs of Belarus has called on its regional authorities to take additional measures to prevent spreading of this disease on its territory.

The Ministry of Agriculture has asked the heads of local authorities to give priority consideration to ensuring the strict implementation of the Action Plan for the Prevention of introduction and spread of ASF in the Republic of Belarus from 2011-2015.

The plan covers the collection and testing of biological and food waste, cleaning and disinfection of equipment and production facilities and the sanitation of vehicles used to transport pigs before each load.

At the end of last week, the Russian veterinary authority announced three new ASF outbreaks in different regions – Krasnodar Kray, Astrakhan region and Stavropol Kray.

The outbreaks started between 29 December and 6 January. The Astrakhan outbreak involved one wild boar, which was destroyed. The case offers a warning, however, because it is a region not affected before and it borders Kazakhstan. Furthermore, many of the previous reports of ASF in Russia appear to have spread among the wild boar population and then to domestic pigs.

In December last year, Kazakhstan imposed restrictions on pork imports from Russia.

The other recent ASF outbreaks in Russia were in domestic pigs on farms in the Black Sea area of south-western Russia. They are notable for the extremely high toll of pigs that had to be culled. At one farm, at Timoshevsky in Krasnodar Kray, 167 pigs died and the remaining animals – more than 30,000 – were destroyed. The farm in Stavropol Kray was smaller but more than 4,000 pigs have been destroyed there.

Last week, Russia's veterinary service, Rosselkhoznadzor, said it had uncovered shortcomings in the testing of suspect cases of ASF in the Moscow area.

The agency reports that in 2011, the Moscow Region Prosecutor's Office with specialists from the veterinary service visited 15 pig farms and two military farms in the region to verify compliance of veterinary legislation.

Virtually all companies are reported to have admitted to breaching the regulations. One of the main shortcomings noted were failures in post-mortem examination and the sending of samples for testing when ASF could not be ruled out.

To add to Russia's pig health difficulties, classical swine fever has been confirmed recently in two new outbreaks in the regions of Vladimir and Smolensk.

ASF is not only affecting eastern Europe. The veterinary authority in South Africa has reported an outbreak of the disease at a farm in Mpumalanga province. On 3 January, 35 cases were identified as sick at an abattoir in Gauteng. Of these, 28 died and the remaining 52 pigs in the herd have been destroyed. The source of the outbreak has is still under investigation as the outbreak occurred outside the country's ASF control zone.

Since the turn of the year, the government of Uganda has instituted a ban on the movement of pigs in the Wakiso District, following an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) that has claimed many pigs.