African swine fever is a contagious virus disease for pigs, including wild species. It does not affect humans or other animals, but the virus can be spread directly from pig to pig, through non-heat treated meat and products from affected pigs and via material which has been in contact with affected pigs (e.g. clothes, feed, and transport vehicles).
In 2014, ASF was introduced in the eastern parts of EU and since then several EU Member States have had outbreaks in wild and/or domestic pigs. The EU Member States, including Denmark, have taken great precautions in order to control and prohibit the spread of the virus.
The DVFA constantly aims to improve the surveillance programs, the veterinary contingency capabilities and information to the farmers and hunters in order to provide a prompt and effective response to every single suspected case or outbreak of a notifiable infectious livestock disease. And as the competent veterinary authority, the DVFA, takes the ASF-situation very seriously and treats it with high vigilance.
If an animal of a herd shows clinical symptoms which give rise to the suspicion of ASF, the herd will be placed under official restrictions while laboratory testing and epidemiological investigations are conducted. If a pig shows clinical symptoms of ASF, CSF is also suspected. In 2017, 13 suspected cases of ASF (or CSF) were notified to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. Official movement restrictions were imposed on the herds under suspicion while epidemiological investigation and laboratory testing were conducted. However, all samples tested free from ASF and CSF.
As a supplementary surveillance for African swine fever and classical swine fever, material from carcasses of swine, submitted for post-mortem examination for non-notifiable diseases is included in the surveillance program for African swine fever (ASF) and classical swine fever (CSF).
Carcasses are selected by laboratory staff on the basis of anamnesis, and relevant organ material is collected for the testing for ASF and CSF. If a sample tests positive, the result is immediately reported to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) as a suspected case of ASF or CSF.
On an annual basis, samples from approximately 240 carcasses of swine are tested for ASF and CSF under this program. In 2016, 287 carcasses were tested, and in 2017, 265 carcasses were tested; all tested free from ASF and CSF.