The number of wild boar victims of African Swine Fever in the border region of Poland and Germany is approaching 5,000. In a combined count on March 29, the count has risen to 4,978 infected animals since November 2019.
The majority of the ASF casualties has been found on the Polish side of the border. Ever since the cluster in Western Poland came into existence in November 2019, the authorities found 4,114 infected carcasses with the virus, the vast majority in Lubusz province.
The month of February 2021 has been the deadliest so far in Western Poland. In total, the authorities found 524 infected wild boar in February alone. Also December 2020 (504) and January 2021 (490) had been busy months. Also, the winter months of 2019 and 2020 proved to be the worst months of the year. It is to be expected that the number of infected animals will come down when the summer months will start.
In Germany, it is slightly more difficult at the moment to geolocate the latest outbreaks, as the World Organization for Animal Health has been updating its reporting system, causing reports from Germany to come in with a delay. In terms of absolute numbers, it is clear, however that numbers keep climbing. Total numbers in Germany are currently at 864, of which the vast majority was found in the border state Brandenburg (789) and the remainder in the border state Saxony (75).
Last week, Julia Klöckner, the German federal minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection called for the establishment of a wild boar-free zone between Poland and Germany. In a digital meeting with her peers in Poland and the Czech Republic it became clear that the fight against ASF needs to be stepped up to be successful. Poland is already currently building fences, but in the direction of the German border not everything has been closed off.
In Klöckner’s view, a wild boar free buffer zone would be a good measure to prevent further spread of ASF. She indicated that an international approach is necessary as DNA research showed that there is a relationship between the German and Polish cases. Even though the Czech Republic is currently free from ASF, some of the Saxony cases are only just over 40km away from the border.
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The 3 countries agreed to cooperate even stronger. In the border region the hunting will be intensified to reduce populations. In addition, the European Commission will be asked for additional amounts of funding to fight the virus.
ASF has been found in Eastern Poland since 2014; the outbreaks in Western Poland constitute a separate cluster. Earlier in March the year’s was found in the west of the country.