“According to the data reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), the countries bordering Russia keep seeing intensive spread of African swine fever, despite the declared elimination efforts, adopted both locally and internationally,” the service said in a statement.
Thus, the veterinary services of China, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine reported 535 ASF outbreaks in wild boars, and only one in domestic pigs as of February 16. It is specified, that an ASF case in farm animals was recorded in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of China.
Rosselkhoznadzor made notice of new ASF outbreaks in Latvia and Poland. The sites of infection were located close to Russian borders. One of them was reported in Latvia, 6 km away from Pskov region; another outbreak in Poland is 700 meters away from the Kaliningrad region.
Experts forecast the further spread of ASF in European countries. “Given the history of the emergence of ASF panzootic and the repeated cases registered on February 8, 2023 in southern Poland, in Jaslensky poviat of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, located 5 km away from the border with Slovakia, there is a high risk of further spread of the infection to the territory of Slovak Republic,” the Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement.
Representatives of the Service urged the authorities of the border regions of Russia to enhance surveillance. “According to the Rosselkhoznadzor, the emerging unfavorable ASF situation in the European countries, requires timely surveillance measures by the competent authorities and all interested parties of the border regions of the Russian Federation,” warned the Service.
African swine fever is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs with a 100% mortality rate. There is no specific treatment or effective vaccine for ASF. Following a decision by Victoria Abramchenko, Deputy Prime Minister of Russian Federation, a domestic vaccine against ASF in cattle has to be developed and applied in Russia by 2024.
Wild hogs are considered to be the dominant natural hosts of the ASF virus. Infection causes high fever, vomiting and bloody diarrhea in wild and domestic pigs.
ASF doesn’t pose a threat to public health, although scientists presume mutations are possible.