Another EU country hit by ASF virus
Greek authorities confirmed the first case of African swine fever (ASF) on a small family farm in the province of Serres, near the borders of Bulgaria and North Makedonia. The export of all swine products including meat, food, sperm and eggs, utensils and other related waste from the Serres prefecture is banned, effective immediately, and no living pigs can be transferred out of the region.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, ASF has now spread to over 50 countries. The disease appeared for the first time in the Balkans in 2018, with cases reported by Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. By now, it has spread to Serbia and Greece. Last year, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched a warning for the countries in the region mentioning that the lack of expertise in handling a biosecurity crisis of this type can cause problems for the industry. "The lack of experiencing the disease first hand implies that the awareness among stakeholders and the technical knowledge on the disease would require further improvement and disease surveillance and control strategies should be harmonized with current experience and scientific knowledge on the disease," said FAO.
A series of National ASF Workshops on Wild boar and hunting biosecurity were held in 2019 but the disease kept spreading.