Belgium confirms cases of ASF in wild boar
Belgium has confirmed the outbreak of 2 cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in their wild boar population. It is the 1st known occurrence of the viral disease in Western Europe since the virus landed in Georgia and Armenia in 2007.
The Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) has confirmed ASF in 2 wild boar near the Belgian village of Étalle, in the southern province Luxembourg. The village is located at a place where many borders meet, but where relatively few pig farms are located. It is at about 20 km from the French border as well as 20 km from the border with the country Luxembourg. The German border is 65 km.
Belgium has confirmed the outbreak of 2 cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in their wild boar population. Photo: ANP
Regular research in wild boar
The infection was discovered through regular research in wild boar. The Belgian authorities are taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus. These measures include hunting in the area where the infection was found.
It is unclear so far as to how the virus got in southern Belgium. The nearest known place for the virus to exist among wild boar is around Zlín in eastern Czech Republic. This is roughly 1,000 km to the east.
No pig farms were found to be infected. Belgium had ASF before, but eradicated the viral disease in 1985.
ASF: A serious situation for Belgium
In the neighbouring Netherlands, only 150 km north of where the disease was found, agricultural minister Carola Schouten has responded swiftly. She said, “This is a serious situation for Belgium. To keep the risk for the Netherlands as small as possible, we will monitor the situation continuously and we will look if all the precautionary measures taken are sufficient.”
She continued, “Transporters who transport e.g. pigs from countries where ASF is being found on farms, will have to be cleaned extra at the border. In addition, we are monitoring the wild boar population intensively in the Netherlands.”
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