African swine fever reported in wild boar in Italy

African swine fever has been found in a wild boar in Italy's capital Rome, reported Reuters, citing a statement from the regional government on Thursday.

An isolated outbreak of the deadly hog disease was reported in northwest Italy at the start of the year and the Rome case was the first time the illness had been detected in the centre of the country.

Several thousand boar are believed to live in and around Rome, foraging for food in often overflowing rubbish bins. Officials carried out tests after a dead boar was discovered in the north of the city, and found it had swine fever.

African swine fever is harmless to humans but often fatal to pigs, leading to financial losses for farmers. It originated in Africa before spreading to Europe and Asia and has killed hundreds of millions of pigs worldwide.

China suspended pork imports from Italy in January after the illness was detected in a wild boar in the Piedmont region.

The Italian government subsequently appointed a special commissioner to coordinate measures aimed at eliminating the disease.