The regional government in the Piedmont region of Italy has reported that African Swine Fever (ASF) has been found in a wild boar.
The statement said that tests have confirmed that the deadly pig disease was found in a dead boar in Ovado, in Northern Italy, about 120 km south west of Milan in the north of the country.
The Piedmont regional government has asked city mayors to stop hunting following the discovery, while the government is also raising its surveillance of wild boars and hog farms and increasing biosecurity measures on farms, Reuters reports.
Piedmont’s health deputy Luigi Icardi said: “As in the case of the (COVID-19) pandemic, the African swine fever emergency must also be addressed by appealing to everyone’s collaboration.
“Piedmont health system is working alongside operators in the sector to prevent the circulation of the virus and protect swine farms.”
International animal body, OIE, has confirmed that the ASF strain identified was genotype 2, the strain that has been circulating in Europe since 2007, and distinct from the strain that has been endemic in the Italian island of Sardinia since 1978.
The origin of the outbreak is currently unclear, but the new case represents another huge geographical leap for the virus.
While the regionalisation approach will apply to EU trade, Italy is now likely to face the suspension of pork to a number of key third country markets, as happened to Germany after the discovery of ASF in wild boar in September 2000. The German and wider EU sector is still feeling the impact of the ongoing ban by China.