EU member states warned over the spread of African Swine Fever

According to an EU spokesperson, EU member states should be on high alert as African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to spread through Asia and Eastern Europe.

ASF is an infectious disease that is harmless to humans, but is deadly for pigs and there is currently no vaccine to deal with the virus. Therefore, countries in Europe have been advised to adopt strict biosecurity measures to prevent it spreading.

In Asia, cases have been reported in Vietnam, China, North Korea, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia and has had major effects on the food industry, which has resulted in a fall in the price of pigs and an increase in costs for fighting the virus.

In early August, the EU Food Safety Authority (ESFA) found that the disease had reached nine EU member states: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

The ESFA has made a few recommendations for stopping it spreading further, including increased biosecurity in farms across the EU.

Anca Paduraru, EU spokesperson for public health and food safety says: “It is now of utmost importance to contain the situation on the ground. In particular, there is an urgent need to enhance and comply with strict biosecurity measures where needed.”

“The best reaction is taking the right action against this catastrophic animal disease. All affected member states must apply the European legislation. This includes prevention and control measures to be applied where ASF is suspected or confirmed, either in holdings or in wild boars.”

She added that, in order to keep the disease contained as much as possible, it’s essential to raise public awareness and to encourage cooperation at all levels of society.

Copa Cogeca, the EU farmers and cooperatives union, said the disease was spreading and outbreaks have now been reported in Slovakia and Serbia. A representative for the union warned that “the situation in Romania is the most worrisome,” with reports that as many as 75% of pigs are now infected with the disease.

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