African Swine Fever (ASF) has jumped some 100 km west in Poland with 17 outbreaks in wild boar in a region near Warsaw. This represents a considerable geographical jump, highlighting the potential of the virus to spread unpredictably within Eastern Europe but also raises concerns for expansion into neighbouring Germany and Western Europe.

The geographical jump of ASFV westwards in Poland in late November is a concern because of the high density of domestic pig production in north-west Poland and the subsequent risk to the pig industry in neighbouring Germany and Denmark.

The current risk of ASF introduction to the UK is still judged to be “low” although the situation is being kept under review.

ASF has been reported in a new region in Lithuania and in Russia, representing further expansion of its range in wild boar within Eastern Europe. Generally, these “jumps” arise because of illegally feeding contaminated meat to wild boar but there is more recent evidence that some wild boar have tested positive for antibody suggesting they survive initial infection and may be acting as a reservoir host. Hunting may also drive wild boar to disperse which may be contributing to spatial spread.

Pig keepers in the UK are asked to ensure that pigs are not fed catering waste, kitchen scraps or pork products and to report any clinical signs of suspect disease promptly to a vet.

The general public are being told that that any feeding of meat products, including the feeding of swill, kitchen scraps and catering waste, to wild boar or feral pigs is illegal.