EU sees significant increase in African swine fever outbreaks in 2023

Virus was introduced for the first time in Sweden and Croatia and spread to new areas of Italy.

May 16, 2024

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In 2023, 14 European Union Member States were affected by African swine fever and it caused a five-fold increase in outbreaks in domestic pigs compared to the previous year. These are the main findings of the latest annual epidemiological report published by EFSA Thursday.

For domestic pigs, 2023 saw the largest number of ASF outbreaks since 2014. Croatia and Romania notified 96% of the total number of outbreaks (1,929).

The number of outbreaks in 2023 in wild boar increased by 10% compared to the previous year. The virus was introduced for the first time in Sweden and Croatia and spread to new areas of Italy. It also re-appeared in Greece after a two-year break.

Germany, Hungary and Slovakia saw the epidemiological situation improve in their countries with the number of outbreaks in wild boar decreasing.

EFSA’s experts recommend prioritizing passive surveillance, including the searching and testing of wild boar carcasses, rather than active surveillance, including the testing of hunted wild boar for the detection of ASF outbreaks.

Passive surveillance, in particular noticing clinical signs of the disease remains the main mode of detection for ASF also in domestic pig establishments. Therefore, farmers and vets have a particularly important role to play in reporting suspicious cases.

In October 2024, EFSA will deliver a scientific opinion revising the risk factors for the emergence, spread and persistence of the ASF virus in wild boar populations as well as in domestic pigs. Our advice will support risk managers in their ongoing efforts to prevent, control and eradicate the spread of the ASF virus.

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