African Swine Fever (ASF) has continued to spread and has now been detected closer to home in Germany. While this is extremely concerning to pig keepers and the industry as a whole it also serves as a timely reminder that the sector needs to remain vigilant.
Found in the state of Brandenburg in Eastern Germany, the first case was reported on 10th September although it was estimated that the wild boar had died 2 – 4 weeks before being found. Since then 6 more cases have been reported in wild boar within a 7.5 km radius. This area has been enclosed with fencing and control measures put in place.
With no vaccine and transmission possible between wild boar and domestic pigs, effective control can prove difficult and as has been seen in other countries, can decimate local pig industries from backyard keepers to commercial herds alike. In addition, export markets are closed as has been seen in the German outbreak, with many countries now having closed their borders to German pork.
Whilst this current German outbreak may have been due to wild boar movement, it is also possible that the spread was due to wild boar gaining access to contaminated waste food from humans.
Pig keepers in the UK should:
- Remain vigilant for signs of ASF, particularly in outdoor populations where there might be contact with feral pigs.
- Maintain high levels of biosecurity with ASF spread by:
- Pigs eating infected pig meat or meat products
- Contact with infected pigs or wild boar, faeces or body fluids
- Contact with anything contaminated with the virus e.g. vehicles, clothing or footwear
- Bites by infectious ticks
- Report without delay any feral pig found dead as speed of diagnosis and imposing immediate control measures are crucial for successful control and elimination of infection.
- Remember the risks associated with feeding waste food to pigs and that feeding any kitchen or catering waste remains illegal.
- For pig keepers and others in the pig sector the links below provide a guide to the signs of ASF and other useful information.
George Chalmers, firstname.lastname@example.org
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