African swine fever in Central and Eastern Europe
African swine fever (hereinafter “ASF”) has been spreading through Baltic countries and Poland since 2014. On the 27th June 2017 the first case of ASF has been confirmed in Czech Republic, it occurred in a wild boar and was found in the Zlin region in close proximity of the Slovak and Austrian boarders.
On the 3rd July 2017 the 4th case of ASF in wild boars has been confirmed in Czech Republic with 10 more wild boar carcasses still being tested.
On the 26th June 2017 two cases of African swine fever have been confirmed by the State veterinary association (hereinafter “SVA”) of the Czech Republic in Olomouc. This is historically the first time the virus has been found in Czech Republic. Both cases have been found on the 22nd June 2017, in the cadaster of Příluky by Zlín and later confirmed by the SVA, and have occurred in wild boars.
On the 27th June 2017 the SVA of the Zlin region has implemented extraordinary veterinary measures in order to contain the virus and prevent a possible spread. The so-called infested area has been defined where extraordinary measures need to be applied including the ban on hunting and feeding of wild boars, all regional dead animals must be reported to the competent regional veterinary authority, breeders of domestic swine have been ordered to make an inventory of all categories of pigs kept on their holding and all measures related to the protection of the breed before the introduction of the disease. In addition, the Zlin region must also report all domestic slaughter of pigs.
On the 28th June 2017 heightened biosecurity measures have been announced in Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. Both Slovakia and Hungary already had heightened ASF measures due to the closeness of the virus from their boarders with Poland and Ukraine, where the disease has been present for a while. Poland currently has 373 cases of ASF in wild boars and 40 cases in domestic pigs since February 2014 when the virus was first detected. Hungary, Austria and Slovakia have all placed Czech Republic in the group of ASF affected EU member states such as Poland and the Baltic countries and have heightened controls and mandatory quarantine on all imported pig meat from Czech Republic.
On the 29th June 2017 in Lužkovice, Zlín a dead carcass of a wild boar has been found and ASF was confirmed as the cause of death, marking this the 3rd ASF case in Czech republic. Samples from all 3 cases have been sent to Madrid, Spain for retesting and based on preliminary results ASF has been confirmed and currently further tests are being made to detect the exact genotype, preliminary results confirm that the virus is also the European genotype II virus of ASF.
On the 30th June 2017 the first meeting of the National Crisis Centre for Disease Control, which was established 2 days prior, took place. The stakeholders present were the SVA, the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Reference Laboratory for ASF, the Czech-Moravian Hunting Union, the Association of Pig Breeders, rendering companies and the Agrarian Chamber. The meeting focused on setting the requirements for the establishment of a Program for the eradication of ASF, which needs to be elaborated and implemented in line with the requirements of the legislation. The meeting was also attended by Vittorio Guberti expert from the CVET (Community Veterinary Emergency Team). The main point of the meeting was the setting of parameters that would allow wild boars to be caught in the infestation zone. At present, hunting of wild boars and their feeding in an infested area is prohibited. In the future, catches of wild boar in an infested area should be allowed, but only with strict compliance with clearly defined biosecurity conditions.
An important fact, which also has to be mentioned in regard the ASF cases in Czech Republic is their relative close proximity to the boarders with Austria and Slovakia, neither of which have the ASF virus present in their countries. On the other hand, the ASF outbreaks in Poland were also in an area close to the Ukrainian and Serbian boarders, so on the other side of the country from the Czech boarders so a spread to Czechia from Poland was also unlikely. It remains a mystery how the virus has found its way exactly into this area and it is under investigation.
On the 3rd July 2017 a 4th case of ASF has been confirmed in the Czech Republic. Altogether, in the Zlin region, 17 carcasses of wild boars have been found, out of which 7 have been tested and 3 out of these test results came back as negative. The remaining 10 carcasses are being tested at the moment with results expected in the coming days.