In 1997, outbreaks of classical swine fever occurred in wild boar and domestic pigs in the Italian province of Varese (Lombardy region). Statutory animal health measures were imposed, and a control plan aimed at preventing the virus from spreading outside the infected hunting zone of 108 km2 was implemented. However, in 1998, virologically positive wild boar were found outside this zone, including within Swiss territory. The infected zone was then enlarged to include the three other hunting areas of the northern province of Varese and the neighbouring Swiss territory. Italian and Swiss veterinary services initiated a joint policy to control the disease by hunting young wild boar and conserving older, immune animals. The percentage of virologically positive animals gradually decreased, the last being found in July 2000. The seroprevalence initially increased, but in 2000 and 2001 it decreased from 42.2 per cent to 8.8 per cent, indicating that the wild boar population had had no further contact with the virus.