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African swine fever in Belgium - high risk of spreading to Germany
On September 13, 2018, Belgian authorities confirmed that African swine fever was detected in wild boar in the area of Étalle in Belgium. The finds are only around 60 kilometers from the German border. The Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (FLI) estimates that the risk of the disease spreading to Germany is high. German farmers are currently on alert.
As the FLI reports, the long distances between the individual cases indicate that the disease does not only spread to wild boar, but also to humans. The institute strongly advises against bringing products from pigs such as sausage or ham from affected areas. Furthermore, the wild boar found dead should be reported immediately to the local veterinary authority, the FLI advises in a press release on the Belgian finds.
Dangerous swine fever on the rise: notes and posters on the Belgian border and at rest areas warn of the high risk of spreading. African swine fever (ASP) is not a threat to consumers, but humans can make a major contribution to the spread of the virus. Since there are no vaccinations or healing methods for ASP, the disease must be contained by restricted areas and targeted wild boar hunts. If the viruses reach pig breeding, all animals must be slaughtered. This could pose an existential threat to pig farmers.
Pig farmers in Germany are alarmed and extremely concerned
"This virus is fundamentally not a danger for humans and other animals," explains Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers' Association (DBV) in a press release. Nevertheless, even more attention must be paid to consistent hygiene measures in German companies in order to protect the stocks.
Authorities take comprehensive protective measures
Comprehensive protective measures have been taken to protect the pig population. These range from additional fencing and restrictions on the area of people and vehicles to increased searches for animal carcasses and increased hunting of wild boar. In addition, restrictions and bans have been placed on the harvesting of certain areas in order not to drive out wild boar. "The additional measures that have been put in place to combat African swine fever are correct and must therefore be implemented by law as soon as possible," explains Rukwied.
What you should know about ASP
The DBV provides information about the dangerous animal virus. Infected pork would not pose a risk to humans and could be consumed. However, the virus is a highly contagious threat to house and wild boar. According to the DBV, most of the illnesses are fatal. The pathogens can last an extremely long time in meat and sausage products. The viruses can survive up to 30 days in a salami, up to 400 days in Parma ham and the pathogens last over six years in frozen meat.
What would happen if ASP cases occur in Germany?
If a wild boar with ASP is found in Germany, the so-called swine fever regulation applies. According to this, the area around the place of discovery is declared within a radius of 30 kilometers as an endangered area, in which there are very strict conditions. Bred pigs are no longer allowed to be delivered from this area. If the virus is found in a domestic pig farm, a restricted area of three kilometers is created around the yard. All pigs in the affected farm must be killed and disposed of under strict conditions. The affected area is then decontaminated.
Neighboring companies are also affected
If a farm is affected by ASP, then no pigs may be brought into the farms or transported out of the farms in all neighboring farms that are within the restricted area. Only after 30 to 40 days can the neighboring farms resume delivery after a clinical examination of all pigs. (vb)