Outbreaks of African Swine Fever in mainland Italy; today the Crisis Unit meets

Firse case of ASF in the town of Ovada, Piedmont region Source: IZSUM


First interventions after the confirmation of the first case of African Swine Fever  (ASF) in mainland Italy.

 "It is a very serious economic risk". The EU has been informed.


The Central Crisis Unit is meeting today for an assessment of the national situation after the first confirmation in Italy of a case of African Swine Fever in a wild boar carcass. The carcass was found in the town of Ovada, in the province of Alessandria.



The case of Ovada - CEREP Reports  that the suspicion was advanced on January 5 by the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte Liguria e Valle d’Aosta (Izsplv)  on the basis of a positive test on a sample taken by the veterinary services of the ASL of Alessandria in compliance with the provisions of the national surveillance plan for ASF; the wild boar tested positive for the RT-PCR diagnostic test, genotype II, the same strain currently circulating in Europe, which characterizes the epidemic wave that began in 2007.

The case was confirmed by the National Reference Center on 6 January 2022 and the competent authorities, at national and local level, immediately took action to apply the provisions of the emergency manual.

An infected area has been identified which includes about 60 municipalities (view map).




A case also in Liguria- The Izsplv has identified two other cases in Fraconalto (Alessandria) and in Isola del Cantone (Genoa), respectively, about 20 and 40 km away. Confirmation is given in these hours.




Actions already in place - As required by current regulations and the  national emergency plan , the outbreak was immediately notified by the Ministry of Health to the competent EU and international authorities. Furthermore, since it is an outbreak in the wild, an emergency meeting of the Operational Group of Experts was organized in order to define the infected area and to outline the extraordinary measures to be implemented to limit the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, the Piedmont region has started the Regional Crisis Unit (RCU) for organising the search for other wild boar carcasses in the territory, for checking the pig farms in the infected area, for  managing the hunting activities, for providing operational plans to stakeholders and for the implementation of any other measure required by the regulations necessary to avoid the spread of the disease.


The implementation of the regional coordination unit is also underway for the organization of the outbreak management activities.




Today the Central Crisis Unit - The situation is being examined by the Central Crisis Unit already organised for today. Following the outcome of the meeting, the Ministry of Health will update the boundaries of the infected area and on the details of the necessary measures, "in consideration of the very serious economic risk for the Italian pig farming sector and the related agri-food industry".




Maximum level of alert - Since the confirmation of the Ovada outbreak, the Ministry of Health has asked the Veterinary Services to reinforce "as much" as possible the surveillance in the wild sector and to increase to the maximum alert level the vigilance on biosecurity measures in the domestic sector, with special attention to all transport and handling operations of animals, feed, products and people.


Throughout the national territory it is recommended to strengthen passive surveillance activities in pig farms and to make "every effort to trace and test wild boar carcasses as required by the national surveillance plan".


The Ministry of Health has announced the need to temporarily suspend the certifications for the export of slaughtered pork and meat products manufactured with this raw material from 7 January 2022; in the case of sending to third countries that require the declaration of indemnity of the national territory from the PSA.



At EU level, in application of the principle of regionalization and on the basis of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/605, the area of ​​the territory to be restricted to manage the risks associated with the spread of the disease will be identified.



No EU member country will be able to impose restrictions on the circulation of meat and meat products from the slaughter of pigs from areas of Italy other than that which will be identified by the Commission. However, third countries, which do not accept the principle of regionalization, will be able to impose a ban on the import of all pork products from the entire country where ASF has occurred, so there could be serious consequences on the trade in Italian pork




African Swine Fever in Italy - ASF has been in Italy, limited to the Sardinia region, since 1978. Before January 7, no cases of disease had been recorded in the rest of Italy. Ovada, that is located in a large mountainous area between Piedmont and Liguria regions, is the first case of ASF in mainland Italy.



African Swine Fever is an infective disease highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses. The virus belongs to the genus Asfivirus.



Globally, over twenty genotypes of the virus are known, but only two are present outside the African continent: genotype I is limited to Sardinia, while genotype II is responsible for the recent epidemic phenomenon that began in 2007 in Georgia and then spread to the former block Soviet Union and in several European Union countries (Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Serbia, Czech Republic, Romania, Belgium, Slovakia, Greece, Germany). More recently, the infection has arrived in China and has also spread to many other Asian countries.



The ASF virus is very stable, resists a wide range of pH and temperatures (for years in frozen meat) and is resistant to autolysis, so it remains infectious for several weeks even in carcasses abandoned in the area. It is inactivated only by cooking and by specific disinfectants.







Further information on the website of the Italian Ministry of Health:



Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del'Umbria  e delle Marche


Ministero della Salute 


Commissione Europea