Perhaps it was just a matter of time, the first case of African Swine Fever was confirmed on July 2 on a pig farm in Lower Saxony, Germany, the number 1 pig state in the country.
The outbreak was discovered on a farm with 280 sows and roughly 1,500 piglets, according to the authorities in Lower Saxony. The farm is located in the south of the Emsland district, which is roughly 20km from the border with the Netherlands.
The outbreak was suspected since the night of Friday July 1, and was confirmed by the German reference laboratory Friedich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) in the course of Saturday, July 2. All animals on the farm will be euthanised, and potential contact farms will also be investigated.
It is unknown how the virus got in on the farm. In a 10km radius around the farm, there are 296 other farms with in total around 195,000 pigs, according to the Lower Saxony authorities. In this core zone, pig transport is forbidden.
Barbara Otte-Kinast, agricultural minister for the German state of Lower Saxony, said: “Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before swine fever reached Lower Saxony. This is a hard emotional blow for the pig farmers in our country. However, we have prepared intensively for a possible outbreak in recent years. Our most important goal now is to prevent further spread so that we do not experience a wildfire.”
It is the 6th outbreak of ASF on a German farm since the virus entered the country in September 2020. The virus is mostly a problem in the wild boar population in Eastern Germany, in the states close to the border with Poland. In late May, an outdoor farm was confronted with an ASF outbreak in Baden-Württemberg, close to the border with France. So far, no further outbreaks have been reported there.