ASF Poland: Virus hops closer to Germany (UPDATED)

18-11-2019 | | |
Dead wild boar in a field in Poland. This is not the recently discovered case.
Dead wild boar in a field in Poland. This is not the recently discovered case.

African Swine Fever has been found in 2 dead wild boar at 85km from the border with Germany. Local media report that a further 20 wild boar carcasses have been found in the area over the weekend.

The 1st case positive for African Swine Fever (ASF) concerned a female wild boar that was found on November 4, after having been killed in a road accident near Tarnów Jezierny, in Wschowa county, Lubusz province. This province borders to Germany in the west.

The Polish Chief Veterinary Inspection broke the news on Thursday, November 14. The animal had been researched at the Polish State Veterinary Institute in Puławy. 

A 2nd case was confirmed on Sunday, November 17, at about 6km north west of the 1st finding, in a forest in Nowa Sól county in that same province. 

Virus spreads due to human negligence

All this news means that the virus has hopped westward by 300 km all of a sudden. Hitherto it was known that ASF virus was present in wild boar in the area around the capital Warsaw. In addition, it crept slowly westward in northern Poland. Experts agree that when the ASF virus jumps over larger distances, normally it is because of human negligence.

In the interactive map below, all ASF infected farms in Poland from 2014 until now are included with a blue colour. With regard to wild boar, ASF used to occur in virtually the same regions until this week. The locations of the newly found infected wild boar are marked red. 

Isolated case of ASF

In an initial press release, the Polish veterinary services spoke of “an isolated case of this disease in feral pigs, without the possibility of an epidemiological and geographical link with the previously reported cases of ASF on the territory of Poland.”

As an immediate measure, a metal fence has been placed in a 5km radius around the finding places. This was completed on Monday, November 18 – the total length of the fence is about 36km, according to the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate.

On Saturday and Sunday, over 150 volunteers have searched into the forests in the area around Tarnów Jezierny and found another 20 dead wild boar, of various ages, according to the local newspaper Gazeta Lubuska. The pattern is reported to be ‘not normal’. More test results to the case of death of these animals are on the way.

Responses from Germany: stay calm

The German ministry of agriculture also has confirmed the finding and emphasised to be in close contact with the Polish authorities as well as the European Commission. The German trade union for pig producers (ISN) responded on its website to be concerned about the incident but advised not to panic. Once more, the ISN pointed to the importance of having good biosecurity on swine farms.

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ter Beek
Vincent ter Beek Editor of Pig Progress / Topic: Pigs around the world