The 14th meeting of Standing Group of experts for African swine fever (ASF) based on the GF-TADs platform of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) with participation of the European Commission (EC), OIE, UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) members was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on September 10-11, 2019. Monique Elloit, Director General of the OIE; D. Taneva, Minister of Agriculture and Food of Bulgaria; T. Dimkovski, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy of North Macedonia; E. Gjeci, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Albania as well as V. Andriukaitis, European Commissioner also took part in the event. The meeting was aimed at discussion of accumulated experience in epidemiological investigation and collection of findings in case of ASF outbreak.
Representatives of ASF-infected countries (Moldova, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Belarus, Belgium, Serbia and Slovakia) made presentations on current epidemic situation and taken measures that were focused on the wild boar role in the infection spread, scope of laboratory tests as well as routes of the long-distance infection spread. It should be noted that in some countries (Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, etc.) compensations for found dead wild boars are paid out of the state budget that contributes to early dead animal removal from the environment and their disposal as well as allows the fullest possible information on numbers of dead animals to be obtained.
There is an increase up to 2-5% (in Estonia that has recognized itself endemic - 54%) in number of seropositive wild boars (having antibodies to the virus) detected during measures taken for reducing animal population in the Eastern-European countries (Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia). Therewith, laboratory tests with routine methods have failed to detect the disease agent that evidences of endemic nature of the disease in the said region.
Nikita Lebedev, Advisor to the Head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, and Alexey Igolkin, Head of Reference Laboratory for ASF, FGBI “Federal Centre for Animal Health” (FGBI “ARRIAH”) subordinated to the Rosselkhoznadzor, participated to the meeting. A tendency for cluster spread of the infection in Russia in 2017-2018 as well as data on ASF introduction and spread in Russian areas bordering to China (Primorsky Krai, Amur Oblast, Jewish Autonomous Okrug) were described in the Russian presentation.
The following presentations were made by Alexey Igolkin, GF-TADs expert from the Russian Federation at the meeting: Collection of data for epidemiological investigation in case of ASF outbreak in domestic pigs and wild boars and Report on Mission of the GF-TADs experts in Belgium in June 2019.
Representatives of the People’s Republic of China participated to the meeting for the first time and presented information on trends for ASF epidemic in the country. However, poor content and objectivity as well evasiveness of the information (data on the disease source, spread routes, number of dead and emergency slaughtered animals as well as monitoring scope) presented by the Chinese colleagues were noted during open discussion with the meeting attendees.
The next GF-TADs Group meeting will be held in Slovakia in March 2020.
Press-office of the FGBI “ARRIAH”