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African swine fever confirmed in Germany

10th Sep 2020 / By Alistair Driver

African swine fever (ASF) has been confirmed in a wild boar in Germany 6km away from the Polish border. 

The Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) confirmed Germany's first ever case of the virus in the eastern state of Brandenburg on Thursday morning.

FLI ASF map

The carcase was decayed suggesting 'the entry took place a few weeks ago', the institute said. The animal was found just 6km from the Polish border and only 30km from the the last confirmed case of ASF in Poland.

This makes an entry by a migrating wild boar likely, the institute said, although introduction by humans through contaminated food cannot be ruled out.

It said the responsible veterinary authorities on site must now take the necessary measures and stressed that it was 'now extremely important for farmers to carefully observe farm biosecurity'.

"This still offers the best protection against the pathogen entering farm animal populations. The pig keeping hygiene regulation serves as the legal basis for this," the institute said.

wild boar 5It said wild boars that have died should continue to be intensively examined nationwide for the presence of ASF and any  found dead should be reported immediately to the responsible authorities.

"It remains important to dispose of possibly contaminated pig products such as sausage and meat in such a way that wild and domestic pigs have no access. Vehicles, clothing, footwear and equipment that could have been contaminated during hunting , for example , should be cleaned and disinfected," the institute added.

German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner told a news conference in Berlin on Thursday morning that the suspected case 'unfortunately has been confirmed'. 

She said the infected area will be cordoned off. The authorities have prepared for the eventuality of ASF occurring in Germany and will be putting in place measures to prevent the disease spreading further, she added.

In a Q&A on its website, published before this incident, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture states: "If ASF were detected in wild boar, a so-called zone at risk would be established. It would then be prohibited to move domestic pigs into and out of this area.

"If required, wild boar would be hunted more intensively. Any wild boar that was killed or found dead would be examined. Further hygiene measures for disease control would be applied (such as centralised collection of viscera, if required centralised evisceration of killed wild boar."

High alert

Germany has been on high alert for ASF ever since a spate of cases emerged in wild boar in western Poland, in some cases as close as 10km from the German border. Measures put in place to prevent disease entering Germany included building fences on the border and culling wild boar.

Germany is one of the world’s biggest pork exporters and there are fears that a confirmed case could damage that trade, with a wider knock-on effect on the German and EU pork market.

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