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African swine fever

What is African swine fever? - Current situation - Control measures - EFSA scientific advice - ASF Diagnostic Manual - Description of the disease - Community Reference Laboratory

What is African swine fever?

African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating infectious disease of pigs, usually deadly. No vaccine exists to combat this virus. It does not affect humans nor does it affect other animal species other than pigs and wild boars. It can be transmitted either via direct animal contact or via dissemination of contaminated food (e.g. sausages or uncooked meat). See the Description of the disease box below for more information.

Current Situation

For more details on the current situation, please visit this page. For epidemiological information gathered through the EU Animal Disease Notification System (ADNS), access this page.

The agenda and the presentations of the points being discussed in the Standing Committee on the food chain and animal health (SCFCAH) can be found here.

Control measures

The European Union has laid down prevention and control measures to be applied where African swine fever is suspected or confirmed either in holdings or in wild boars. These include information measures and measures to prevent and eradicate the disease. The overarching piece of legislation providing the tool for the control of African swine fever in the EU is Council Directive 2002/60/EC of 27 June 2002.

NEW In this framework, the latest specific regionalisation measures that have been taken with respect to evolution of the ASF situation in the EU are included in Commission Implementing Decision of 9 October 2014 (2014/709/EU) (as latest amended by Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/1783). This decision repeals the previous Commission Implementing Decision 2014/178/EU and provides the animal health control measures relating to ASF in certain Member States. A map summarising the current regionalisation applied in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia is provided here for information purposes. The working document SANTE/7112/2015 has been developed to lay down the principles and criteria for geographically and temporally defining ASF regionalisation.

Document SANTE/7113/2015 summarises the ASF Strategy for Eastern Part of the EU. The ASF Strategy is aimed to the Member States recently affected by the disease or with a higher risk of introduction of the disease and is intended to prevent the spread of the disease and eventually its eradication from the affected territories. This strategy was developed and updated taking into account the latest findings from EFSA.

Document SANCO/7138/2013 contains Guidelines on surveillance and control of ASF in feral pigs and preventive measures for pig holdings. The aim of this document is to provide guidance to the Member States in controlling ASF when the disease is suspected or confirmed in feral pigs.

These guidelines are based on:

The EU legislation referenced above is fully in line with the OIE international standards. Nevertheless, in order to ensure a higher level of animal health protection, the EU goes beyond the OIE requirements and applies stricter standards. In the current application of regionalisation in Lithuania, Poland and Latvia, for example, no pigs, their semen, embryos or ova are allowed to be moved from the infected area.

EFSA scientific advice

Relevant scientific advice has been provided by the European Food Safety Authority by means of the:

ASF Diagnostic Manual

Commission Decision 2003/422/EC approves a diagnostic manual for African swine fever.

Description of the disease

African swine fever appears among pigs, warthogs, bush pigs, European wild boar and American wild pigs.
Transmission is made through direct contact between sick and healthy animals; indirect transmission happens through feeding with garbage containing infected meat, through fomites (premises, vehicles, implements, clothes) or through biologic vectors (soft ticks).
The sources of virus are blood, tissues, secretions and excretions of sick and dead animals, carrier animals (especially African wild swine and domestic pigs in enzootic areas) and soft ticks.
Prevention in free countries can be done through import controls, disposal of waste food from aircraft/ships coming from infected countries.
In infected areas, control is done through slaughtering of all pigs and destruction of cadavers and litter, cleaning and disinfection, designation of infected zone and control of pig movement, as well as epidemiological investigation (tracing of sources and possible spread of infection).
African swine fever is a OIE listed disease.
This means it is a transmissible disease that has the potential for very serious and rapid spread, irrespective of national borders, is of serious socio-economic or public health consequence and is of major importance in the international trade of animals and animal products.

For more details, click on the OIE technical card on African swine fever.

Community Reference Laboratory

The Community Reference Laboratory for ASF is :
Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal,
Ctra De Algete a El Casar,
Valdeolmos 28130,