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Vet. Res.
Volume 31, Number 1, January-February 2000
Page(s) 159 - 160
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2000) 159-160
Vet. Res. 31 (2000) 159-160

Aujeszky's disease: the position of the European Commission and regulation perspectives

J.M. Westergaard

European Commission, Rue de la Loi 86, 1040 Brussel, Belgium

Abstract - The initial EU legislation drawn-up on measures to prevent the spread of Aujeszky's disease (AD) through trade in live pigs was presented to the Council in 1982. At the time the proposal was made, deterioration in the AD situation had been observed in several Member States, due to the appearance of virus strains with an increased virulence and intra-Community trade of pigs was rising. In spite of these developments the proposal presented to the Council was for a number of years given a low priority by the Member States which in turn hold the Presidency for a period of 6 months. In 1990 however, the basic trade Directive 64/432/EEC, which defines the health conditions for movement of live pigs between Member States, was amended in such a way that measures relevant to the control and eradication of AD could be made by Commission Decisions. The European Commission has within the framework of Directive 64/432/EEC adopted two major Decisions concerning protective measures in relation to AD and trade in live pigs. Decision 93/24/EEC sets out the health conditions which apply to pigs moving into areas where the disease is absent, while Decision 93/244/EEC contains the health requirements applying to pigs moving into areas where an approved eradication plan is in operation. None of the decisions refer to specific eradication measures. Some Member States have in recent years presented AD eradication programs for co-financing within the context of EU legislation and financial assistance has been made available for implementation of such programs during 1999 in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. The two Decisions, 93/24/EEC and 93/244/EEC, have almost divided the territory of the EU into areas which can be classified as follows: areas where the disease is absent; areas where approved eradication programs are being implemented and areas where AD is either not under official control or where control/eradication programs do not yet meet the criteria for approval by the Commission. By April 1999 the areas where AD is absent are situated in seven Member States. The disease absence has been recognised for the whole territory of Austria, Denmark, Finland and Sweden and for large areas of France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The pig population in the free areas, about 30 million pigs, represents about 25% of the total number of pigs in the EU. Up to now all disease programs have been directed towards the control of AD in domestic pigs. However, the disease has been reported to occur in the wild boar populations in certain areas of Italy and Germany. The infectious AD cycle within the wild boar population appears to be independent of that in domestic pigs. The majority of Member States has made use of the harmonised EU legislation by either obtaining disease protective measures via additional trade guaranties or financial assistance for implementation of surveillance and control programs. It is anticipated that the progress made within the existing framework will continue; but the speed of progress will, by and large, depend on initiatives taken by the pig industry and the Veterinary authorities of the Member States where the disease is still present.

Corresponding author: J.M. Westergaard Tel.: (32) 22953143; fax: (32) 22953144;

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2000