African Swine Fever has started to affect farms in more zones in eastern Poland after having been contained to 3 districts for over 2 years.
Ever since the first confirmation of ASF in Poland in May 2014, the virus was mainly found in wild boars in forests in Hajnowski, Sokolski and Bialostocki districts in Podlaskie province. This province is located in the far east of the country, bordering Belarus.
Occasional outbreaks happened to be recorded on small farm sites, but all in all the pattern that emerged was that Poland managed to contain the virus within these three districts.
Outbreaks in other districts
Ever since late July 2016, however, outbreaks have also started to come in from farms in 4 more districts in Podlaskie province, west of the initially affected districts. The newly affected districts are Wysokie Mazowiecki, Siemiatcki, Zambrowski and Bielski.
In addition, the virus has also been confirmed in a second border province, being Lubelskie, directly south of Podlaskie, also neighbouring Belarus. Figure 1 shows where these districts are roughly located.
Figure 1 - Districts affected in Poland by African Swine Fever, 2014-2016.
The westernmost location where ASF has been found now is near the town ofZbrzeznica, in Zambrowski district, on 10 August 2016. This farm had 12 pigs, of which 4 had died of African Swine Fever. The other animals have been destroyed.
Lubelskie outbreaks of ASF
To zoom in a little on the outbreaks in the province of Lubelskie, earlier this week (August 16), a farm with 25 pigs in Droblin, Bialski district, reported an outbreak of ASF to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). In total, 3 animals had died of the virus, the other 22 were culled.
The initial report was discovered on August 10, 2016. It happened on a farm near the town Stare Buczyce, in Bialski district. Two pigs in a population of 36 were found infected – one had died. The other animals had to be culled.
In total, the area in which ASF is found in Poland stretches for about 200 km north to south. In addition, the farm found furthest west is just over 100 km from the Polish-Belarus border.
A map with a total overview of all ASF outbreaks in the European Union from 2014 until now can be found here.
Reaction in Germany
In Germany, the move of the outbreaks to the west has caused some reason for alarm. The German federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has therefore called once more for vigilance and preventive measures to avoid the country becoming infected. Especially hunters, travelers and transporters are asked to take extra care with respect to hygiene.
Also read: "African Swine Fever is a man-made disease"
Most likely route of spread of the infection is by food, which could contain meat of infected animals. This should not be fed to other pigs. The ministry has a complete list of do’s and don’ts with regard to ASF (in German).