A 2nd pig farm in Western Poland is infected with African Swine Fever. This time, a 10,000 pig facility near the village of Więckowice was hit. That village is located 20 kilometres west of Poznan and over 130 kilometres from the border with Germany.
Remarkably, this farm is located outside the zone where known outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) occur in wild boar. According to the German agricultural title Top Agrar the facility is a finisher pig farm, which obtained its pigs from the 1st ASF infected farm in Western Poland. The farm had received a shipment of roughly 1,000 animals prior to the date ASF had been confirmed on this 1st facility. Because of the ASF protocol, the animals’ health had been monitored closely. For about 2 weeks, however, the pigs did not show any signs of disease.
All pigs will have to be culled
The infection at the 1st farm, located near Niedoradz, Lubusz province, was discovered on March 23 of this year. That was a farm with 23,700 pigs, of which almost 7,000 sows. This 1st farm is located at 88 kilometres south west, as the crow flies, of the newly found infected facility. Just like in this newly discovered Więckowice facility, all pigs had to be culled. For now, Top Agrar said, there are no further indications that other pigs from both farms were brought to any other location in Poland.
Both infected farms are the first 2 facilities to have been confirmed infected in Poland in 2020. Until now, all cases on farm sites were located in Eastern Poland, where ASF has been around since 2014. Since November 2019, however, the virus also popped up in the western provinces of Poland.
Western Poland: sophisticated pig farms
Unlike Eastern Poland, pig farms in the west of the country consist of large sophisticated swine farms. The province of Greater Poland is even known as the ‘hub’ of Polish pig production. The 2 farms in Western Poland have immediately topped the list of largest swine farms affected in Poland by ASF.
In the last few years, outbreaks on farms were typically reported during the summer months. Between October and March, the virus was never reported on farms. In Western Poland, for now, the virus appears to follow that same pattern.
No hunters allowed in forests
Complicating the fight against African Swine Fever is a recent regulation, put in place by the Polish authorities, which forbids people to enter national parks due to Covid-19. As described in a background article at the Polish website Farmer, the measure was taken to prevent that people will gather there massively now spring has arrived. The regulation, however, also applies to hunters, who play an important role in monitoring wild boar presence as well as in 'passive ASF surveillance', i.e. discovery and removal of infected wild boar carcasses.
The new regulations apply to the whole of Poland and will remain in place until at least April 11. Hunters will therefore limit their activities to open fields.