UPDATE 1-Serbia reports suspected African swine fever cases, neighbours ban imports

(Updates with Balkan neighbours banning Serbian pig imports)

PARIS, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Serbia has reported four suspected outbreaks of African swine fever among backyard pigs, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday, prompting neighbouring countries to ban imports of the animals.

Three of the cases were detected in the Belgrade area and one in the district of Podunavski, the OIE said, citing a report from Serbia’s Agriculture Ministry.

The suspected cases of the disease killed seven pigs while another 114 were slaughtered, the report showed.

Bosnia, Montenegro and North Macedonia banned imports of pigs, wild boar and related products from Serbia to prevent the spread of the outbreak, the countries’ veterinary authorities said.

African swine fever, which is incurable in pigs but harmless to humans, has been spreading in eastern Europe and the European Union’s executive last week called the disease an “urgent challenge”. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Additional reporting by Maja Zuvela in Sarajevo; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Alison Williams)