The EU has ignored calls from the Russian veterinary authorities for international cooperation to tackle African swine fever in Eastern Europe and Russia.
The Russian veterinary authority Rosselkhoznador said that the agency’s advice had “not been heard” and as a consequence ASF got a foothold in the Baltic states and Ukraine and had spread rapidly.
A report from Rosselkhoznador said that the large number of small scale enterprises in the region trading in pork also increased the risk of the spread of the virus.
Rosselkhoznador said that since ASF was first discovered in the Baltic area the disease had become widespread because of the number of wild boar in the countries, despite measures including controlling the natural reservoir in the wild boar population, a “stamping out” policy, quarantine, movement controls for susceptible livestock and zoning measures.
The report says that since the disease was first officially reported in Europe more than 1,300 incidents had been recorded in under two years, double the number reported in Russia in eight years.
Rosselkhoznador said that this confirms its belief that the EU had adopted a “soft” approach to controlling the disease.
It said it was particularly concerned about the control of the disease and the efforts to slaughter affected animals in Latvia and Estonia in areas bordering Pskov and Leningrad regions in Russia, where there are a large number of pig farms.
In Lithuania, the disease was initially reported in January 2014 and the total number of cases had risen to 145 with 121 occurring this year.
Poland saw its first case in February 2014 and has now recorded 79 cases with 47 this year and 46 occurring in the wild boar population in Podlyadskovo.
Latvia’s first recorded cases were in July last year when three dead wild boar near the border with Belarus were found to have the virus. Since then there have been 762 outbreaks with 542 this year and 10mof these cases in domestically held pig small holdings in Daugavpils, Tsiblskom, Aloyskom, Salacgriva, Rezekne and Mazsalatsskom.
Estonia’s first case was recorded in September 2014 and there have now been 426 cases in 11 counties – Ida-Viru, Järva, Lääne-Viru, Pärnu, Põlva, Rapla, Tartu, Valga, Vijandi and Võru.
From the cases reported in Estonia, 408 have been in wild boar.
In Ukraine since the disease was first recorded in 2012, there have been 41 cases reported and 31 of these have been in wild boar.
Rosselkhoznador said that because estimates put the wild boar population in Europe at 4.5 million there is great concern about the potential spread of the disease and the veterinary authority is particularly worried that there are also insufficient controls in Ukraine in the domestic pig population, posing a threat of a spread of disease westwards and into the Balkan countries.
Rosselkhoznador said the increase in cases during the summer show it is a seasonal disease and this is made worse because this is the peek trading times in the sector in Eastern Europe.
However, the agency said that placing buffer zones of between 100 and 150km around infected areas should minimise the risk – something that it has repeatedly pointed out to the veterinary authorities in the EU