Health

News last update:Jun 2, 2021

ASF Poland: 2nd farm found infected in 2021

A 2nd farm has been found infected with African Swine Fever (ASF) in Western Poland this year. A facility in the pig-rich Greater Poland province with 3,373 pigs on-site tested positive on May 26.

The farm is located in Miedzychód district in Greater Poland, the authorities of Greater Poland province reported, at 110km from the border with Germany. Obviously, the farm’s pigs will be culled and all biosecurity measures are put in place.

In the direct surroundings, 3 outbreaks of African Swine Fever had recently been found in wild boar. These outbreaks were rather remarkable, because no outbreaks had been reported from Greater Poland province since September 2020. The cluster is located roughly 50km away from the nearest other known ASF cases of infected wild boar. A search team is doing surveillance to detect if more animals are found with ASF. They are equipped with drones for observation of areas difficult to reach.

2020: In total 103 Polish farms infected with ASF

To place things in context, in 2020 in total 103 farms were infected with ASFv. Some of them were commercial facilities, but the majority were backyard farms. Ever since ASF broke out in wild boar in Poland in 2014, there have been 342 farms infected, the vast majority of these being in Eastern Poland. So far, 14 farms have been infected in Western Poland. There the virus popped up in a separate cluster in November 2019.

A 2nd pig farm in Poland was found positive for ASF in 2021. - Photo: Henk Riswick
A 2nd pig farm in Poland was found positive for ASF in 2021. - Photo: Henk Riswick

It is well known that the number of wild boar cases is highest in winter and drops over the summer months. That pattern can be seen now as well, even though the cases that did get reported are further away from known places.

ASF case in wild boar in west of Greater Poland province

For instance, another case of a positive wild boar in Greater Poland was discovered on May 14 near the hamlet Brody, which is in the far east of Greater Poland province, roughly 130km east of other known infected wild boar cases. Interestingly, the location is relatively near (22km) the site of 2 infected pig farms that were reported in September 2020.

Another case that has been expanding the total infected zone in Western Poland is the discovery of an ASF-positive carcass near Lubiechów Dolny, a village at the German border. Never before a carcass has been found this north along the German border; it is over 20km more north than previous cases.

ASF virus creeping north

That means that the virus is slowly but steadily becoming a challenge for the 3rd German state bordering Poland, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. This state has a relatively short border with Poland (62.4km) and got on the way fairly quickly to erect a permanent fence to keep out wild boar in September 2020 – the fence was ready 2 months later. The state’s minister of agriculture Dr Till Backhaus explained to Germany’s agricultural title Top Agrar: “The fence is an important element of ASF-prevention, apart from various other animal hygiene related measures, that have ensured that in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern the disease has not shown up yet. Our decision was the right one.”

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That does not mean that Germany is completely free from worries. Also on the German side of the border, cases continue to be found. North and south of the city Frankfurt an der Oder now core zones have been set up. Occasionally new cases are found outside core zones (but often inside white zones, which are part of the strategy to overcome the ASF problems).