Recently the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) raised concern about a ‘jump’ in African Swine Fever (ASF) in Europe. This new incursion took place in early July in the Calabria region of Italy, where it joins the first recorded cases in January 2022 in the Piedmont and Lazio areas, as the third region to record the disease.
This was a massive jump of over 800 km from Lazio, the nearest area affected, with a case on a small breeding farm with 70 domestic pigs, where two Sows were found dead. The four positive wild boar cases were detected in different locations causing APHA to say:
“The recent detection of four cases of ASF in wild boar in the Calabria region in southern Italy is concerning. One case was found over 10km away from the five others, and could indicate that the disease is present and widespread in the region.”
The Italian Official Veterinary Services speculated that the disease could have been accidentally introduced by workers from Eastern Europe, where ASF is circulating in wild boar, for the harvesting season. The distances can also be explained by human transportation, or un-disinfected equipment and contaminated products, which were exposed to pigs in the local area. Equally possible could be the movement of wild boar across the country.
What are APHA saying about the situation?
The UK’s risk level for ASF have been reviewed by the APHA and remain unchanged for the country’s pig farmers saying “we consider that the risk of entry of ASF virus in live animals and products of animal origin (POAO) from affected countries, remains at MEDIUM (occurs regularly).” They went on to say that imports from countries with ASF, such as non-commercial imports of pork products were of high concern. They also cited there was evidence that pork meat was being illegally brought into the country from countries in Europe affected by the disease and with poor biosecurity and food standards.
Keeping African Swine Fever out of the UK
Due to these concerns APHA have again issued another reminder to all UK pig farmers and pig keepers of the steps they need to take to keep their livestock safe from African Swine Fever. They remind pig farmers, keepers and the public, that:
- Pig keepers should ensure visitors and seasonal workers should not be allowed on the premises if they have had contact with pigs, pork products and other pig houses
- Feeding pigs and other commercially farmed animals food waste and pork products is illegal and keepers must avoid this at all costs
- Shared machinery and vehicles that are used for supply deliveries and transportation of livestock must be thoroughly cleansed and disinfected before allowed on site
- It is against the law to personally bring pork products into the UK that weigh over 2kg that are not produced to the EU’s commercial standards
- It is illegal to import meat or dairy products from non-European and Asian countries
- Do not bring dried or cured meats into the UK
They reiterate that robust biosecurity is key to protecting your animals from ASF as there is no cure and once a case has been confirmed depopulation is the only answer to the spread of the disease.
How can Livetec help protect your pigs from ASF
For such a fatal disease, there can be no mistakes when it comes to good biosecurity.
Livetec Systems have been providing the UK pig farming industry biosecurity advice for over a decade. Our Biosecurity Advisory Service, the only one of its kind in the UK, provides pig farmers with a full biosecurity review of the premises with recommendations and full documentation.
- A site visit from a biosecurity expert
- A business operation review on the ground
- A walkthrough from the road to your livestock
- A biosecurity assessment findings and recommendations
- A review of the current measures in place and data collection
- Farm mapping, looking at layout and operations
- Issues to be addressed the solutions advised
- On-farm processes and protocols defined
To find out more about how Livetec’s biosecurity team can help you protect your premises and livestock from this devastating disease contact us here today.