More wild boar confirmed with African swine fever in Belgium
3rd Oct 2018 / By Alistair Driver
A total of 28 wild boar have been diagnosed with African swine fever (ASF) inside Belgium’s 240 square mile Infected Zone, according a briefing sent to the NPA.
In total 69 dead wild boars have been found and most are analysed for ASF, including 45 inside the restriction zone and 24 outside it. Of the 45 dead boars in the restriction zone 28 of them have been diagnosed with ASF, according to the update forwarded to the NPA by ForFarmers’ Andrew Knowles. No information has been given about the dead wild boars found outside the restriction zone.
The update also says the precautionary cull of the pigs on the commercial farms in the restriction zone has been completed, while the culling of the pigs on the hobby farm in the restriction zone was due to be finished by the end of Tuesday.
ASF was confirmed in four wild boar in the Luxembourg region of Belgium, near the French and Luxembourg borders on Friday, September 13.
The decision to cull around 4,150 domestic pigs on a small number of commercial premises and numerous smallholdings was taken last week by the Belgian authorities, with EU backing. Farmers will be compensated by national and EU funding, after Agriculture Minister Denis Ducarme’s plan was endorsed by the European Commission. The Belgian authorities have also faced calls for a cull of wild boar in the zone.
Other measures inside the zone include movement restrictions, enhanced biosecurity and surveillance on farms, including no outdoor access or double fencing, testing of wild boar found dead and banning feeding and hunting of wild boar and human movement in the forest.
Measures in place at the national level include a ban on pig gatherings, increased biosecurity and surveillance and ensuring domestic pigs avoid contact with wild boar.
The Belgian authorities have stressed that ‘very few’ domestic pigs are kept in this region and said the risk of domestic pigs becoming infected with ASF remains ‘limited’. However, the UK Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has warned that given the large numbers of wild boar in this forested area, crossing the EU border, eradication will be ‘a challenge’.
The virus isolated in Belgium is thought to be the same as the one currently circulating in eastern Europe. The most likely route of infection is said to be discarded infected meat products brought in from ASF-infected areas. Investigations are continuing.