ASF Germany: First case on farm in Hesse; virus hops across Rhine river

08-07 | |
ASF Germany
A dog team is on an appointment to take measures against African Swine Fever with cadaver sniffer dog Paco. Photo: ANP

The authorities in Germany have confirmed that a first pig farm in the state Hesse got infected with African Swine Fever (ASF). The farm has 9 pigs on-site. In the meantime, the number of wild boar infected with ASF in west Germany keeps on growing – at least 2 cases have been confirmed in wild boar in neighbouring state Rhineland-Palatinate.

The outbreaks in the state Hesse are noteworthy as these constitute the first outbreaks of the virus in wild boar in western Germany, after having been present in wild boar populations near the Polish border for about 4 years. The first outbreaks were found on June 14, 2024.

The infected pig farm is located near the town Biebesheim am Rhein, in the district of Groß-Gerau. The animals were culled under veterinary supervision.

In addition, the German authorities have confirmed that ASF virus was confirmed in at least 2 dead wild boar in the district Alzey-Worms in the neighbouring state Rhineland-Palatinate. That means that the virus has crossed the Rhine river. German agricultural title Top Agrar mentions that the virus may also have emerged in the district Mainz-Bingen in that same state – an outbreak that is yet to be confirmed; the location is relatively close to the outbreaks in Hesse on the other side of the river.

Infections with wild boar

With regard to wild boar, the most recent count (July 12) is at 20 confirmed infections in the state Hesse, according to the authorities – out of 140 tested carcasses. The last 2 cases that were confirmed with the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) were found on July 2, further to the south, as far as Riedstadt. The distance between the latest discovered carcasses and the original one on June 14 is about 15 km as the crow flies. 

Various zones

Following European Union contingency rules, both an inner restricted (core) zone has been established with a 3km radius, as well an outer infected zone with a 10km radius. The latter already got expanded as a consequence of the most recent findings. It now includes parts of the neighbouring state Rhineland-Palatinate as well. In the infected zone are 3,500 pigs in Hesse alone.

The infected zone is in a relatively densely populated area, including Frankfurt-am-Main, Darmstadt, Wiesbaden and Mainz. The last 2 are even entirely inside the so-called infected zone, and so is Frankfurt’s airport. Especially in the inner core zone, all kinds of agricultural limitations apply.

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