The most recently discovered case of African Swine Fever (ASF) amongst Belgium’s wild boar population was found about 2km outside the inner observation zone.
That became clear from data supplied by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and is confirmed by the department of agriculture of Wallonia, the southern part of Belgium.
The animal’s bones were found on December 9, close to the village Assenois. It is the first finding of an ASF positive carcass in the commune Neufchâteau. The authorities estimated that the animal must have been dead between 3 and 6 months. It was possibly overlooked due to dense vegetation during a summer search. The inner observation area will be expanded as a result of this find, the authorities confirmed.
The newly found animal was found in an outer, also fenced observation zone. The Walloon authorities therefore do not appear to be too worried. In this particular area there is a ‘low wild boar density’ and ‘very few activities in this time interval’.
The authorities do not have an explanation yet as to why an infected animal could have reached an area outside the inner zone. Additional searches will be conducted – keeping in mind the very few sightings – and if anything is found, the authorities do not anticipate coming across anything but bones.
The latest case constitutes ASF victim number 830, since the virus was detected amongst the wild boar population in Luxembourg in September 2018. The animal was found at 18km as the crow flies from the border with France, at 23km from the border with Luxembourg and 108km from the border with the Netherlands. It has been the most northern find so far.
Neighbouring France has enlarged its ASF observation zone, the Flemish Info Centre for Agri- and Horticulture (VILT) reported. In that area special measures apply. All traffic in the forests has been forbidden, just like hunting as well as forestry activities. The measures apply to zones in the French departments of Ardennes, Meuse, and Meurthe et Moselle. In total, the country built a fence of 132km to keep the virus out. France so far never reported any outbreak of ASF.