African swine fever

African swine fever

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 epidemiological information gathered through the EU Animal Disease Notification System (ADNS), please see the "Notification System" page.

The agenda and the presentations of the points being discussed in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) can be found in the "Animal Health and Welfare regulatory committee" page.

Control measures until 21 April 2021

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.

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) 2021/544 of 25 March 2021).

The map summarising the current regionalisation is provided, as well as an interactive tool displaying the EU regionalisation for ASF. It is an indicative representation of the areas covered by Commission Implementing Decision 2014/709/EU as latest amended by Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/544 of 25 March 2021.

Special control measures from 21 April 2021

Legislation: Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/605 of 7 April 2021 laying down special control measures for African swine fever was adopted by the Commission based on the new legal framework of Regulation (EU) 2016/429 ("Animal Health Law"). Special control measures for African swine fever apply in the Union in addition to rules for the prevention and control of certain listed diseases laid down in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/687.

EU zoning measures: based on the epidemiological situation of African swine fever, the areas affected by that disease in relevant Member States are listed as restricted zones I, II and III in Annex I to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/605. The latest specific zoning measures that have been taken with respect to evolution of the African swine fever situation in the Union are included in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/623 of 15 April amending Annex I to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/605 laying down special control measures for African swine fever.

The map summarising the zoning measures for African swine fever in the Union from 21 April 2021 provides an indicative representation of the areas covered by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/605 as last amended by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/623 of 15 April 2021.

List of approved establishments as referred to in Article 12 of Commission Implementing Decision 2014/709/EU

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 Strategic approach to the management of African Swine Fever for the EU. The ASF Strategic approach is aimed to the EU countries affected by the disease and to EU countries free from the disease with a risk of introduction. It is intended to prevent the spread of the disease and eventually to eradicate the disease in the affected territories. This strategic approach was developed and updated taking into account the latest findings from EFSA and experience gained.

These guidelines are based on:

  • The provisions of Council Directive 2002/60/EC, and in particular of Articles 15 and 16
  • Chapter IV(H) of the Annex to Commission Decision 2003/422/EC
  • the EFSA Scientific Opinion of the Panel on AHAW on the control and eradication of Classic Swine Fever in wild boar
  • the EFSA Scientific Opinion of the Panel on AHAW on African swine fever

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.

BTSF training materials on African Swine Fever (ASF)

The BTSF (Better Training for Safer Food) initiative is actively participating in the fight again the ASF with the training of officials in the Member States and neighbouring countries.

Below, see the presentations for each of the sessions held on the ASF topic:

EFSA scientific advice

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

Blueprint and Roadmap (BRMP)

BRMP on the possible development of an African Swine Fever (ASF) vaccine.

The Commission has requested to the African Swine Fever EURL (specific mandate EU co-funded) to prepare a valuable document collecting all scientific work, identifying gaps and needs for possible vaccine development and proposing roads to achieve the final goal: the development of an effective and safe vaccine against ASF.

The aim of the ASF blueprint and roadmap is to give an overview of the research efforts needed and help to direct investments towards specific areas.

The STRATEGIC GOALS identified include:

  • Identification of potential strategies for vaccine development based on existing data/knowledge in a view of an effective and safe vaccine.
  • Identification of gaps and needs for vaccine development and manufacturing following the Good Manufacturing Practice Standards.
  • Identification of a network of dedicated laboratories directed towards vaccine development
  • Identification of the research steps (Roadmap)

ASF Diagnostic Manual

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

Description of the disease

ASF is a viral disease caused by a complex DNA virus that affects only porcine species of all breeds and ages.It appears among pigs, warthogs, bush pigs, European wild boar and American wild pigs.

The disease is present in Africa, mainly in many countries located south of the Sahara, in most of which the disease is endemic. In Western Europe, ASF is still endemic in Sardinia. In 2007, the ASF virus spread to the Trans Caucasus Countries and the Russian Federation (RF).

ASF is very resistant to inactivation even under harsh environmental conditions. Some species of soft ticks have proved to be ASF virus reservoirs and vectors.

Transmission - 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.

The disease does not affect humans or other species.

Prevention - In free countries can be done through import controls, disposal of waste food from aircraft/ships coming from infected countries.

Vaccine - No vaccine exists to combat this virus. The EU has allocated however a substantial amount of funds for research on vaccines for ASF through the sixth and seventh framework research project but there is no successful candidate vaccine yet.

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.