Hungary detects fresh case of African swine fever in wild boar

It is possible for wild boar to transmit African swine fever to domestic pigs. (Reuters pic)

BUDAPEST: Hungary detected a fresh case of African swine fever in wild boar this week but the disease has not spread to domestic pigs, the national food safety authority NEBIH said.

Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog on Monday introduced temporary restrictions on pig and pork imports from Hungary due to an outbreak of the disease in Heves County in eastern Hungary where the fresh case was also detected.

“In Hungary, so far the African swine fever has only been identified by laboratory tests in wild boars,” NEBIH said in a reply to Reuters questions late on Thursday.

It said Heves County was the most at risk from the disease at the moment. On Thursday, China said it had banned imports of pigs, wild boars and pig-related products from Hungary following the Heves case.

When the first case was detected late last month, NEBIH introduced measures including an organized search for wild boar carcasses and temporarily suspended hunting in the affected area. According to the NEBIH website, so far the disease has been identified in seven dead wild boars.

“This (measure) will remain in place until authorities manage to clarify the extent of the infection,” NEBIH said, adding that after that hunting of wild boars will be encouraged.

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease that affects pigs and wild boar and has been spreading in Eastern Europe in recent years. It does not affect humans.

Germany issued a decree in February to allow hunters to shoot wild boar year-round to stop the animals, which can carry African swine fever, from passing the deadly infection on to farm pigs.

While no case has yet been detected in Germany’s wild boar population, the spread of the disease in eastern Europe has been causing immense concern in Germany.

Hungary’s neighbor, Romania, reported an outbreak of African swine fever among backyard pigs in the town of Micula in the north of the country, some 7 kilometre from the border with Hungary and Ukraine, earlier this year.