Potential African swine fever cluster found on German island

A potentially significant outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) has been discovered on an island in Brandenburg as the official number of confirmed cases continues to rise. 

The Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) officially confirmed 10 further cases in wild boars in Brandenburg today, taking the total number to 65. All were found within the original core area – eight were found in the Oder-Spree district and two in the Spree-Neisse district.

Overall there have now been 51 confirmed cases in the Oder-Spree district, 12 in the nearby Spree-Neisse and two in the second, separate area, Märkisch-Oderland, in the north of Brandenburg about 60km away from the original cases and very close to the Polish border.

As the intensive search for wild boar in the state continues, a drone discovered a number of potentially infected animals on the Oder island in Kustrin-Kietz in the second core area of around 45sq.km. The footage, which can be viewed here (footage from RBB 24), showed around 17 dead animals and 30 or so still alive, some of which appear to be infected, according to German media reports.

With the help of experts from FLI, the aim is to isolate the group to prevent the further spread of the virus, German pig industry body ISN reports. However, while the group will continue to be observed by drone, the intention is not to disturb them.

“Intervening would be too dangerous because sick animals are very aggressive,” the district’s spokesman Thomas Behrendt, told news website Markische Oderzeitung (MOZ).

While the number of infections is growing in the wild boar population in Brandenberg, the virus has not affected domestic pig populations in Germany.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.