ASF discovery in Rome sparks fresh concern over spread of the virus in Europe


By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)

May 9, 2022


In a hugely significant development as far as the spread of African swine fever (ASF) is concerned, the virus has been found in Rome, representing a big leap within Italy.


An isolated outbreak of the disease was reported in north-west Italy at the start of the year and the Rome case was the first time the disease had been detected in the centre of the country. The latest case is over 500km from the initial outbreak in mainland Italy, making it likely that humans were involved in the spread.


Officials carried out tests after a dead boar was discovered in the north of the city. Reporting the outbreak, the OIE said the animal was found in the Insugherata natural park, and the epidemiological investigation is still ongoing.


“At the moment it is hypothesised that the introduction of the ASF virus is purely due to human factors. The analyses confirmed the positivity for genotype 2 as reported, the same strain currently circulating in Europe,” it said.


It has been reported that picnics have been banned and bins fenced off in a large swathe of northern Rome as health authorities move to contain the wild boar population. Feeding or approaching the animals has also been forbidden, while people who have walked through farmland or nature reserves in the affected areas have been told to disinfect their shoes.


China suspended pork imports from Italy in January after ASF was detected in a wild boar in the Piedmont region.


NPA senior policy adviser Rebecca Veale said: