The European Food Safety Authority has begun a major campaign to raise awareness and help halt the spread of African swine fever in southeast Europe.
"Stop African swine fever" is aimed at countries that in 2019 EFSA identified as collectively comprising a "region of concern" because of their proximity to countries where ASF is present. These are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia.
The campaign will complement the ongoing efforts of the European Commission and other international organizations to work towards the eradication of the disease in Europe.
ASF is a viral disease that affects domestic pigs and wild boar. The virus is harmless to humans but has caused significant economic disruption in many countries. There are currently no vaccines for ASF, so an outbreak can necessitate the slaughter of large numbers of farm-kept pigs in affected areas.
Objectives and audiences
The campaign aims to raise awareness and understanding of ASF in all nine countries. It is aimed at groups of people and individuals who come into contact with domestic pigs and wild boar, such as pig farmers and hunters. EFSA will also engage with veterinary organizations, hunting associations, farmers' groups, customs officers, border police, local governments, tourist operators and travelers.
Detect, prevent, report
Because an ASF outbreak can have such devastating effects, detection, prevention and reporting are essential if this disease is to be contained. These are the key words of the campaign. EFSA will be sharing factsheets, infographics, ready-to-use social media posts and other materials.