A warning that African Swine Fever (ASF) could cross from Poland into Germany at any moment, sparking “massive” trade restrictions, has been issued by a leading German animal disease specialist.
“We need to maintain ASF awareness at a high level to avoid the accidental introduction of the disease into Germany via meat from infected animals, contaminated vehicles and equipment or by way of wild boar hunting trophies,” Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) head, Professor Franz Conraths (pictured above), told Pig World.
“Certainly, if ASF reaches pig farms or wild boar in Germany then massive trade restrictions would apply, and would be expected to cause damage throughout the agricultural sector.”
FLI is Germany’s federal institute for animal health, with Prof. Conraths’ ASF warning being prompted by the continued closeness of the disease to the country’s commercial pig units.
Questioned on whether or not the arrival of ASF in Germany would open the door for the disease to move on to France, the Netherlands and Denmark, he added: “While it is likely that outbreaks in domestic pigs can be controlled and thus contained, as it is the case in the Baltic States and Poland, it may become difficult to control the disease in wild boar.
“In that context, it is difficult to predict if ASF in wild boar could be contained in Germany. However, as there is no significant wild boar population in Denmark and only a small one in the Netherlands, I think the risk remains relatively low for these countries.”