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NPA urges extra vigilance as ASF continues to spread in Germany

4th Jul 2022 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has urged pig producers to be extra vigilant and to ensure biosecurity controls are fully up to scratch as African swine fever continues to spread in Germany. 

ASF GermanyAround 280 pigs and 1,500 piglets on a farm in Emsland in Lower Saxony were due to be slaughtered on Sunday, the state farm ministry said, according to Reuters, after the virus was confirmed on the unit, located just a few miles from the Dutch border. This was the first outbreak in domestic pigs in Lower Saxony, which is one of Germany's most important pig farming regions.

Another outbreak has been confirmed in domestic pigs on a fattening unit with 1,300 pigs in the eastern state of Brandenburg, where ASF was first confirmed in wild boar in September 2020, close to the Polish border, Reuters reported.

The virus had been detected in dead animals, according to the state authorities. The animals were due to be slaughtered and epidemiological investigations into the cause of the entry have been launched, according to German pig industry body ISN. In July 2021, ASF was discovered in three smallholdings herds Brandenburg, while it has also been confirmed in more than 2,500 wild boar in the state.

These fresh outbreaks follow the discovery of ASF a farm in the south German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg close to the French border in May, while ASF has also been discovered in wild boar and domestic pigs in Italy. In both cases, human spread is considered the most likely cause of the virus suddenly appearing, hundreds of miles from previous outbreaks.

APHA ASF advice

With ASF still circulating in wild boar across much of Eastern Europe, the the risk of entry of ASF virus in products of animal origin from affected countries, including from illegal imports, remains at medium.

While it is not illegal to bring in pork products from the EU, all travellers are strongly advised to avoid bringing or ordering any pork product, including dried or cured meats, sausages, salamis, or pâté, back to the UK from affected parts of Europe.

Travellers from Asia and other third country areas who bring meat or dairy products can face prosecution and a large fine.

Advice to pig keepers

  • All pig keepers must ensure pigs are not fed catering waste, kitchen scraps or pork products, thereby observing the swill feeding ban.
  • All pig keepers should remain vigilant and ensure any visitors or seasonal workers have not had any recent contact with pigs, pig products, pig premises, wild boar (including hunting) or equipment associated with such activities in the affected regions in Europe or the world.
  • Proper training on this should be provided.
  • Pig keepers and vets should remind themselves of the clinical signs for ASF.
  • Any suspect cases must be reported promptly by calling, in England - 03000 200 301, in Wales - 0300 303 8268 and, in Scotland - your local Field Services Office.
  • See www.gov.uk/guidance/african-swine-fever for more information.

ASF symptom 1Symptoms 

The main clinical signs are:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • lack of energy
  • sudden death with few signs beforehand.

Other signs can include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • red or dark skin, particularly on the ears and snout
  • discharges from the eyes and nose
  • laboured breathing and coughing
  • abortion in pregnant sows
  • weakness
  • unsteady gait.