A wild boar carcass in Brandenburg state, Germany, has been found to be infected with the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.
German agriculture minister Julia Klöckner confirmed, during a press conference Thursday morning (10 Sept, 2020), that the African Swine Fever virus is in Germany.
The virus was found on a wild boar carcass – 3 tests were carried out and in all cases the result was positive.
The wild boar was located in the district of Spree-Neisse, state of Brandenburg, just a few kilometres from the Polish border. The carcass had been there for some time, explains the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute, responsible for testing. The institute is trying to further identify the virus, so that more can be said about its origin.
Crisis team takes action
The minister explains that the ASF scenario will come into effect and the crisis team will take action. All authorities involved, national and international, have been informed of the first ASF case in Germany. This also applies to the Chinese government, the most important non-EU country for the export of German meat.
German farmers union calls for a wild boar-free zone at the Polish border and a solid fence to keep out Polish boars.
Preventing the spread of ASF is paramount
For the time being the prevention of further carry-over of the virus is paramount.
6 measures have been implemented in the area where the carcass was found:
- Hunting ban on all animal species in order not to chase away potentially infected animals;
- Intensive search for dead game, guided by trained people;
- Salvage of all wild boar carcasses;
- Biosecurity testing on pig farms;
- Temporary ban on agriculture and forestry (harvest ban);
- Ban on events involving pigs.
The provisionally contaminated area has a diameter of 30 km. In order to form the contaminated zone, an intensive search is being made for carcasses of wild boars.
Consequences for meat exports
In her press conference, the minister does not want to look ahead at the possible consequences for pork exports. As soon as the contaminated area has been mapped, there is no problem for export to other EU countries, she says. In Europe there are agreements on regionalisation in the event of an ASF outbreak. Only meat from the designated region is prohibited from leaving the country.
China’s reaction to the discovery of ASF in Germany is still unclear. Klöckner does not want to speculate about this to the press. Klöckner: “We will keep you informed about the ASF situation from day to day. Speculation is not in the best interest of the pig sector.”
According to Reuters South Korea has already implemented a ban on pork imports leaving Germany from September 10 onwards. Shipments just arriving or in transit will be checked for ASF on arrival. In 2019, 18% of the 421,190 total pork imports came from Germany, according to South Korea's agricultural ministry.
South Korea has been struggling with ASF outbreaks, in particular near the border with North Korea, and has been banned from exporting its pork.
German agriculture minister Julia Klöckner confirmed, during a press conference Thursday morning (10 Sept, 2020), that the African swine fever virus is in Germany. Photo: CDU Rheinland-Pfalz
Concerns of the farmers’ union
The German Bauernverband (Farmers Association) is very concerned about the discovery of ASF on German soil. The organisation calls on the government to do everything it can to deal with the virus as quickly as possible. The union also calls for a wild boar-free zone at the Polish border and a solid fence to keep out Polish boar.