ROME (Reuters) – The Italian government appointed a special commissioner on Friday to coordinate measures aimed at eliminating an outbreak of African swine fever, the prime minister’s office said in a statement on Friday.
“The plan aims at eradicating African swine fever in wild boars on national territory and to prevent its spread among farmed pigs, in order to ensure the protection of animal health, the national production system and exports,” the statement said.
The government gave regions 30 days to draw up their own schemes to tackle the deadly hog disease, which was discovered in northeast Italy at the start of the year.
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’s agriculture ministry announced last month that it was suspending pork imports from Italy because of the outbreak.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; editing by Barbara Lewis)