No further infection of African Swine Fever (ASF) has been found at contact farms of the recently infected farm in the federal state of Lower Saxony, Germany. News of that outbreak was reported on Saturday, July 2.
As this was the first occurrence of African Swine Fever in pig-dense Lower Saxony – the furthest west so far – the outbreak near the town Emsbüren meant a big alarm. One farm had recently purchased weaner pigs from the infected farm, but that farm has now been found negative for African Swine Fever virus, according to Lower Saxony’s ministry of agriculture.
The contact farm is located in Freren, also Lower Saxony, which had 1,800 finishing pigs on-site. All samples tested negative. Lower Saxony agriculture minister Barbara Otte-Kinast therefore has growing hopes that the consequences of the ASF outbreak in Emsbüren will be limited. Otte-Kinast said, “That gives hope that we are dealing with an isolated case in Emsbüren.”
Nevertheless, all pigs on this contact farm will be culled, as the minister does not wish to take any risks. During testing, not every finisher on-site could be tested for ASF. In addition, a test does not 100% guarantee that pigs are free from ASF. In the unlikely scenario an infected animal would slip through the net, causing more infections, the consequences would be much bigger than culling.
In the meantime, the investigation to the origin of the infection at the sow farm in Emsbüren is still ongoing. This Wednesday, packers were invited for a meeting at the Lower Saxony ministry of agriculture. As processors are not always keen to accept pigs from surveillance zones, the minister wanted guarantee that they will welcome pigs from the surveillance zones too for slaughter. For the time being, however, a standstill applies to the infected area.
The standstill in the area will last until July 11. It remains a mystery what has caused the farm in Lower Saxony to get infected for ASF.
This weekend did not only cause ASF news in Western Germany, also a farm near Prenzlau in the district Uckermark close to the Polish border was found infected. In this particular farm there were about 1,300 pigs of which 4 were found positive for ASF. This outbreak took place in a region where infections occur in the wild boar population, even though they have not been found in the immediate vicinity of the farm.
In total, now 7 farms have been infected with ASF over the last 2 years. The largest infected farm was in the state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with just over 4,000 animals on-site. Three sites had fewer than 100 animals on the farm. The majority of the infected farms are in the state Brandenburg, close to the Polish border.