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Outbreak of African Swine Fever in Greece concerns the EU

An outbreak of African Swine Fever, an infectious disease which is usually deadly for pigs but harmless to humans, in the north-east of Greece, has added another headache to EU policymakers in Brussels.

Infected by the infectious disease were some 30 animals in a small farm in Serres, Northern Greece. Local authorities suggest that the disease came through wild boars from neighboring Bulgaria.

Greece notified the European Commission about an outbreak on February 5.

According to euractiv, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) warned late last month that the disease is slowly moving across the EU, mainly in a south-western direction, with a total of nine affected countries so far.

These include Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Currently, there is no commercially available vaccine to combat this virus.

The area of the European Union affected by the African swine fever (ASF) is “progressively expanding”, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in its latest update on the disease, published on Thursday (30 January).

A source said the Commission proceeded with the adaptation of regional measures in Greece and remains in close contact with veterinary authorities.

The same source added that additional interim safeguard measures were adopted by the Commission on 7 February while a technical discussion on African Swine Fever and this new occurrence in Greece will be held on 13 February by a Commission Standing Committee in Brussels.

The Greek authorities are now trying to find out how the animal disease reached the country. It is thought that it came through neighbouring Bulgaria, where the incidence was high. euractiv

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