Two regional workshops for governmental agencies were recently organized under the ASFORCE project, targeting representatives of governmental agencies of EU Member States including countries recently affected by ASF. The aim of these meetings was to provide an opportunity to the participants to discuss relevant issues for the organization of prevention and contingency plans at national level, using data, so far obtained in research developed under Themes 2- 4 of the project. 

The first workshop held in Berlin on February 24th, was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture of Germany, targeting representatives from veterinary services from Central Europe and neighbouring countries. Representatives from Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland Latvia, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland and United Kingdom, attended the workshop.

Following the welcome and introductory note by Prof. Hans-Joachim the representative from the Ministry of Agriculture of Germany and the presentation of a brief background on ASFORCE and an introduction to ASF, theme leaders of ASFORCE presented the main achievements in the different areas of work under the project, namely on: 

  • Epidemiological scenarios of ASF and on the role of ticks and WB on ASF epidemiology, 
  • Diagnosis of ASF,
  • The major trends on vaccine development against ASF.

A practical exercise was completed with the contribution of all participants, under the topic “Is it possible to prepare an ASF recipe for preventing the introduction of ASF?”
Questionnaires on African swine fever (ASF) prevention measures were used to rank, in order of importance, each of the options under the three main sections considered, namely: early detection, contingency plans and training, aiming at identifying the priorities within each section. All experts agreed that the main ingredients in ASF “recipe” should be a mixture of early detection, contingency plan and training.

The second workshop, held in Rome, was hosted by FAO on the 10th of March, targeting representatives from SE Europe and neighbouring countries. It was attended by representatives from veterinary services in Southern Europe, namely Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia and Spain.

Following the welcome and introductory note by Dr. Juan Lubroth (CVO, FAO) and the presentation of a brief background on ASFORCE and an introduction to ASF, theme leaders of ASFORCE presented the main achievements in the different areas of work under the project, as above described for the workshop in Berlin.

Dr. Sofie Dhollander, guest to the workshop, presented an overall view on EFSA’s risk assessments on ASF.

During the afternoon, each representative at the workshop, presented and discussed with the other participants, relevant aspects on the measures organized for prevention and control of ASF in their countries. 

Both workshops were very successful. A total of 23 CVO's or their representatives in charge of animal diseases control, including ASF, from 16 European countries (including Switzerland) attended and participated on fruitful discussions with ASFORCE representatives, with mutual benefit.