viernes, 5 de marzo de 2021

African Swine Fever (ASF): Information on cases in Germany in wild boar

Federal Minister Julia Klöckner provided details of the first case on Thursday, 10 September, after the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, which is located on the island of Riems and is the national reference laboratory, had tested a corresponding sample with a positive result. The sample had been tested the previous day by the Berlin-Brandenburg State Laboratory.

The minister stressed that

  • the animal disease was harmless to humans.
  • consumption of potentially contaminated meat also posed no risk to human health.
  • ASF was, however, always fatal for pigs.

What are the next steps?

Klöckner said that the stipulations in the national Swine Fever Ordinance now appled. The competent authority in Brandenburg is now required to take all necessary measures to

  1. gain an overview of the disease situation on the ground and
  2. prevent the further spread of the disease.

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture …

  • has activated the central crisis task force for animal diseases
  • is in close contact with the European Commission and
  • is in discussion with significant trading partners outside the EU in order, as far as possible, to maintain exports from ASF-free areas.

Extensive preventative and awareness-raising measures by the BMEL

Besides carrying out extensive preventative and awareness-raising measures, the BMEL has also taken pre-emptive action to prepare for this emergency. The BMEL has amended the German Animal Health Act and the Federal Hunting Act to ensure that the competent authorities are in a position to issue the following orders in the event of an outbreak:

  • restriction of passenger and vehicular traffic within specific areas.
  • cordoning off of a specific area.
  • hunting restrictions or bans.
  • restrictions or bans on the use of agricultural land in order to prevent wild boar from migrating.
  • establishment of shooting lanes and intensified search for dead game to minimise infection risks for healthy wild boars.
  • possibility to commission third parties (e.g. professional huntsmen or forestry administration staff), where necessary, to undertake intensified hunting.

Background information

African Swine Fever (ASF) has appeared in many different EU countries since 2014. This animal disease, which is of great relevance for pigs and wild boar, is spreading rapidly across Europe - from countries bordering the EU to the east.

ASF is most prevalent in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is supposed that ASF was introduced into Georgia from Africa. In June 2007, the first ASF outbreaks were reported in Georgia. It is supposed that these outbreaks were caused by the illegal disposal of food waste containing the ASF pathogen. Subsequently, ASF spread through Georgia, and from there it continued its path westwards.

The introduction of the ASF virus into Sardinia in 1978 has led to recurrent outbreaks in domestic and wild boar in Sardinia ever since. It has, however, been possible so far to prevent the disease from spreading beyond the island.

Since ASF was first detected in wild boar in the Czech Republic in June 2017, it has been possible to contain the ASF outbreak in the Czech Republic by taking strong measures, leading to the Czech Republic declaring in October 2018, in accordance with the requirements of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), that the outbreak of ASF had been eradicated. Since February 2019, the Czech Republic has been considered free of ASF in accordance with EU rules as well.

On 13 September 2018, ASF was detected in dead wild boar n the Belgian province of Luxembourg - in the tri-border area of France, Luxembourg and Belgium, about 60 kilometres from the German border. Restricted zones were established and other measures taken, for instance the construction of wildlife fences to isolate the outbreak, which only affects the wild boar populations. The Belgian authorities have so far succeeded in containing the disease within the restricted zones, thus preventing a spread of the disease to domestic pigs.

Since 14 November 2019, cases of ASF in wild boar have also been detected in western Poland. The first outbreaks occurred around 80 kilometres from the German-Polish border. After further cases near the German-Polish border, a first case was confirmed in Brandenburg on 10 September 2020 in a wild boar, and subsequently more cases were confirmed in wild boars within the designated zone at risk.

No risk to human health

African Swine Fever is a severe viral infection which only affects pigs (domestic and feral pigs) and is fatal to them. The disease does not pose a risk to human health.

Food: a source of infection

The virus is transmitted directly via animal contact or indirectly, for example via meat or sausage from infected animals. Under unfavourable conditions, the careless disposal of leftover food may be sufficient to introduce the disease. Such leftover food should therefore be avoided or be disposed of in places that are inaccessible to feral pigs.

A ban on feeding domestic and feral pigs with kitchen and food waste has been in place for decades. Since the virus remains contagious for an exceptionally long time, it can also be spread by objects such as tools, footwear, clothing and transport vehicles. For this reason, travellers - including people on hunting trips - and transporters should be particularly cautious and responsible, and should comply with hygiene measures.

ASF: Precaution is top priority

The BMEL is in close contact with the Länder and the relevant associations; existing awareness-raising and monitoring measures have been intensified and are regularly adapted to the situation. The BMEL has also once again been proactive in raising awareness, including through intensified public relations work, among the general public, hunters and farmers, and in particular among pig farmers, Eastern European workers and travellers. In addition, the BMEL takes action to ensure an active exchange on ASF with the competent authorities of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg on the one hand, and Poland on the other.

A functioning system for the early detection of possible introductions into Germany places high demands on pig farmers, veterinarians and hunters in order to give the animal disease as little time as possible to spread if there is an outbreak.

The animal disease is harmless to humans, and domestic pig herds are still not affected.


Further cases of African Swine Fever have been detected in Germany: By 12 January the Friedrich Loeffler Institute had confirmed 485 cases – all of them in wild boar. Domestic pig herds in Germany are still free of African Swine Fever.


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