African swine fever detected on Italian pig farm for first time

Two cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been found in pigs at a farm near Rome, local media quoted health authorities as saying on Thursday. It is the first time in Italy that the disease has spread from wild boar to livestock, reported Reuters.

Alessio D'Amato, a health official of the Lazio region of which Rome is the capital, was quoted as telling La Repubblica newspaper that pigs on the farm will be culled.

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 north-western Piedmont region.i

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