The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) has restated advice on how the veterinary profession can control African swine fever (ASF) following news the disease is spreading across Europe and into Asia.
According to the federation, ASF is one of the most severe viral pig diseases as it is highly contagious and can result in up 100% morbidity in previously unexposed pig herds. The mortality rate, meanwhile, can vary between 0% and 100% depending on the virus, the host, the dose and route of the exposure of the virus.
In 2007, the virus was introduced into the Caucasus and then into eastern Europe. In the Russian Federation, ASF has persisted since 2008 and, according to studies, it is spreading over Lithuania and Belarus. However, there are no effective vaccines or treatments for the virus, said FVE, so control measures include movement bans and sanitary prophylaxis.
However, FVE is so “concerned” over the spread of the virus that it has restated the following advice, as it is aware that “extensive wild boar and pig culling leads to severe economic losses, financial consequences for farmers and serious restrictions”:
- early detection and response are crucial – critical control areas include border inspection posts and farms, where vets are fully engaged and play a fundamental role;
- practitioners must encourage farmers to report suspected outbreaks;
- veterinary services must be well equipped, resourced with trained staff and have access to sufficient funds for early diagnosis, effective controls and adequate compensation to achieve effective implementation of prophylaxis measures; and
- as swill feeding plays a major role in disease transmission, vigorous enforcement of the EU-wide ban on swill feeding is “essential“.
For more information, visit the FVE’s website.