450 pig farms in the province of Greater Poland have been placed into lockdown due to the occurence of ASF in the west of the country.
All farms are located around the finisher farm where African Swine Fever (ASF) was recently found. There are 61 pig farms in a 3 km radius in the area. The surveillance area with a 10 km radius has another 391 pig farms. The farms have over 30,000 pigs in total.
Most important pig province
The farms in the surveillance area cannot send pigs off for at least 1 month. In the infected area, this timeframe is even longer. Polish pig producers are complaining that the authorities are not putting enough effort in the battle against the expansion of ASF. Greater Poland province is the country’s most important pig province.
ASF found near the German border
The virus has been around in Eastern Poland since 2014, but was discovered in a separate cluster in wild boar in Western Poland in November 2019. Ever since it spread to 720 sites in 3 provinces in Western Poland, including 2 farm sites. The virus has been found in a wild boar at a 10 km distance from the German border. Germany is one of the largest pig producing states in Europe and any transfer of the virus into the German wild boar population might have far-reaching consequences for the German export position.
‘Don’t let Covid-19 frustrate ASF reporting’
At the other side of the German-Polish border, the situation is being watched closely. Prof Thomas Mettenleiter is president of the veterinary Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut in Germany. In an article in the German agricultural title Top Agrar he warned that Covid-19 should not interfere with the fight against ASF. He said: “ASF is a notifiable animal disease that must be combated quickly with all necessary measures if it occurs in Germany, regardless of the current pandemic with SARS-CoV-2.”
Prof Mettenleiter described the risk of ASF introduction as undiminished and appealed to animal owners to strictly comply with German pig hygiene legislation. Quick recognition and consistent reaction he considers pivotal. As a result, the investigation to and reporting of dead wild boar would have to be continued with priority. At the moment some woods have been closed due to Covid-19, making passive surveillance more difficult.
Snapshot of a pig farm in Poland. - Photo: Henk Riswick
Strict ASF prevention measures in Saxony
The German state of Saxony is 1 out of 2 states immediately neighbouring Poland and in the context of ASF, it recently stepped up its measures for hunters, writes Top Agrar.
- Hunters must report every wild boar that has been found dead and any wild boar that has been killed, stating the place where they were found or shot at the relevant local food inspection and veterinary office in the districts and independent cities.
- Hunters must cooperate with the implementation of these measures as far as possible in labeling, taking samples for ASF testing and salvage and disposal of the carcasses according to the instructions. An expense allowance of € 30 per wild boar is granted for that.