Self-declaration of freedom from Swine Vesicular Disease by Italy



On 08 August 2019, Dr. Silvio Borrello, delegate of Italy to the OIE, Chief Veterinary Officier and General Director of Animal Health, submitted to the OIE a self-declaration freedom from Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD). The European Commission has recognized Italy as a territory free from SVD by Commission implementing decision (EU) 2019/470 of 20 March 2019.


Swine Vesicular Disease is a contagious infectious disease caused by a virus of the family  Picornaviridae , genus Enterovirus that affects domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) and wild pigs (Sus scrofa), the only naturally occurring virus-sensitive hosts. The pathogen is highly resistant and can persist for a long time in the environment. The risk factors are related to the continuous exchange of animals between farms, lairage facilities (holding pens) and collecting centres, as well as to the transport of pigs with vehicle contaminated or disinfected incorrectly.


Swine Vesicular Disease was observed in Italy for the first time in 1966. The regions of northern Italy were recognized as SVD free since 1997, while for the southern regions control has been more gradual, due to the peculiarity of the southern pig breeding, characterized mainly by small farms with low number of animals. The implementation of the health measures to control and to achieve the eradication in the regions not yet recognized as SVD-free, allowed significant improvement of the epidemiological situation of the disease.


From June 2015 to date, no outbreaks of SVD have been registered on the national territory and the European Commission has recognized Italy as a territory free from SVD. The self-declaration also show the measures to ensure the maintenance of national SVD free status. The surveillance activities implemented in the previous years on the national territory remain in force. In addition, in case of a suspicion of an emergency disease resembles characteristics of SVD, all the measures laid down by the national contingency plan and the operation manual for swine vesicular disease are applied.


The surveillance activities are also implemented through the use of the national information system such as VetInfo, the computerized document (Model 4) for animal transport, Classyfarm, and the new web information system which allows to categorize the farm according to the risk, using harmonized and scientifically validated methods.


Swine Vesicular Disease is a disease subject to mandatory reporting also at international level and can cause serious economic losses from export restriction; the achievement of this goal allow Italy to aim the expansion of international markets with China and America, for the export of pork and pig meat products. The self-declaration has already been sent to the Chief of the Chinese and American Veterinary Services to extend the granting of the allowance to regions currently excluded from exports.






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