Hargita county on alert due to swine fever outbreak

The Transylvanian Hargita/Harghita county has introduced emergency measures to stop the spread of African swine fever from neighboring Kovászna/Covasna county where several cases have been confirmed last week. County prefect Jean-Adrian Andrei said he had ordered the establishment of special local task forces to deal with the emergency.

Measures include tighter controls on illegal meat trade and inspections at home farms. Last week several dead pigs have been found infected with swine fever in Sepsiszentgyörgy/Sfântu Gheorghe and the county’s veterinary authorities ordered the culling of all swine in the neighborhood, a three-kilometer quarantine zone and a ten-kilometer observation zone around the outbreak.

African swine fever reached Europe in the spring of 2018, with Romania the most affected country, where a total of 900 outbreaks have been reported and 320,000 pigs had to be culled.

In September, Romania was giver EUR 34.5 million ($39.4 million) in EU emergrncy funding to deal with the effects of the outbreak. Once infection is detected on a pig farm, all animals have to be culled. The disease – while the carrying vectors are often human – does not affect humans.

The disease can have significant economic repercussions, due to the fact that pork exports account for 8.5 percent of the European Union’s agricultural output and 62 percent of its meat exports.

Author: Dénes Albert