African swine fever (ASF) has been found in wild boar in Poland just 12km from the German border, the German Ministry of Agriculture revealed on Wednesday.
The virus has been edging closer to Germany since the virus was discovered approximately 70km from the border in western Poland in November.
Poland recorded some 55 outbreaks of ASF in wild boar in December, including a series of cases close to the border, but the latest case, just 12km from the German border state of Saxony, will heighten concerns over the threat to the German pork sector.
Germany’s agriculture minister, Julia Kloeckner met her Polish counterpart Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski in Berlin this week and agreed new measures to try and contain the ASF outbreak in Poland and prevent it spreading to Germany.
According to Reuters, Germany is intensifying discussions with the Polish government about creating a ‘white zone’, fenced off to stop infected wild boar entering Germany, the statement said. The two countries are discussing whether Germany’s civil defence force should help setting up fencing on the Polish side of the border.
Some German regional state governments have already started building fences along the Polish border.
As well as new fencing, measures discussed included a ‘drastic reduction in the wild boar density, for example through shooting as an effective preventative measure’.
Germany is one of Europe’s biggest pig producer and a major exporter of pigmeat. While its defences have held so far, the German Ministry acknowledged that there is ‘always a risk that the disease will spread to other EU countries due to the high infection pressure’.
“An incursion of ASF into Germany would have severe implications for the animals as well as for the economy. An incursion into the wild boar population would be critical, since possibilities to control the disease are limited,” the Ministry says on its website.
It stressed that it has been in ‘continuous contact’ with both the German federal states and the Polish authorities for a long time.