Risk assessment of African swine fever in the south-eastern countries of Europe
The European Commission requested EFSA to estimate the risk of spread of African swine fever (ASF) and to identify potential risk factors (indicators) for the spread of ASF, given introduction in the southeastern countries of Europe (region of concern, ROC), namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. Three EU Member States (MS) – Croatia, Greece and Slovenia – were included in the ROC due to their geographical location and ASF-free status. Based on collected information on potential risk factors (indicators) for each country and the relevant EU regulations in force, the estimated probability of spread of ASF within the ROC within one year after introduction into the ROC was assessed to be very high (from 66% to 100%). This estimate was determined after considering the high number of indicators present in most of the countries in the ROC and the known effect that these indicators can have on ASF spread, especially those related to the structure of the domestic pig sector, the presence of wild boar and social factors. The presence of indicators varies between countries in the ROC. Each country is at risk of ASF spread following introduction; however, some countries may have a higher probability of ASF spread following introduction. In addition, the probability of ASF spread from the ROC to EU MSs outside the ROC within one year after introduction of ASF in the ROC was estimated to be very low to low (from 0% to 15%). This estimate was based on the comparison of the indicators present in the ROC and the already affected countries in south-eastern Europe, such as Bulgaria and Romania, where there was no evidence of ASF spread to other EU MS within one year.