Nearly 34,000 pigs on 12 farms in the northern Italian region of Lombardy have been culled to tackle the spread of African swine fever (ASF), a regional spokesman said on Wednesday.
Lombardy is the Italian region with the largest number of reared pigs. The outbreak appears to signal an intensification of the wave of the disease first detected in Italy in 2022.
“In Lombardy there are half of the pigs reared in Italy, about 5 million out of a total of 10 million Italian pigs,” the regional government spokesman said.
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“Our aim is to extinguish this outbreak … so that the problem does not become a risk for the supply chain of the entire Italian sector,” the spokesman said, adding that the risk of further spread appears to have been averted for now.
African swine fever is harmless to humans but often fatal to pigs, leading to economic losses for farmers. It originated in Africa before spreading to Europe and Asia and has killed hundreds of millions of pigs worldwide.
As of 2022, African swine fever in Italy has mainly affected wild boars, with a few isolated cases in pigs, said Francesco Feliziani, head of the National Swine Influenza Center.