A first exceptional case of African Swine Fever has emerged in northern Italy. It is unclear how the virus ended up in northwestern Italy.
As the crow flies, it is more than 800 km away from ASF-infected area in southeastern Germany, while it does not even occur in the intermediate countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. It may be due to human involvement.
The wild boar cadaver was found in the city of Ovada, in the province of Alessandria. The city is located between just 30 km northwest of Genoa and 85 km southeast of Turin. That is in the middle of the Italian pig farming area.
This first ASF case could have major implications for the Italian pork trade, as countries could impose an import ban on all Italian pig products.
The regional government of Piedmont asked the mayors of the cities to stop hunting. The region's authorities also announced that they would increase surveillance of wild boar and pig farms and apply strict biosecurity measures to farms.
Italy is not formally 100% free from African swine fever. In Sardinia, genotype I of African swine fever is endemic. That's a last vestige of ASF infections in Southern Europe in the 1980s; that virus type is only found in Sardinia.