Number of African swine fever cases in Germany rises as intensive search continues

As the intensive search for dead wild boar continues in the Brandenburg region of Germany, the official number of confirmed African swine fever (ASF) cases has risen to 35. 

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) said the virus was confirmed by the National Reference Laboratory, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI), in three more wild boar at the weekend. One was found in the core area set up around the initial outbreaks and two in the wider ‘endangered’ area.

Previously, the infected wild boar had been found in two hotspot areas – Spree-Neisse, where the original case confirmed on September 10 was found, and near the town of Neuzelle in the OderSpree, about 7.5 km away.

There have still been no cases recorded in domestic pigs.

The Brandenburg region is throwing everything into to finding and testing dead animals in the locality. Helicopters with thermal imaging cameras and drones are being deployed alongside trained search teams and dog teams, with hunters reportedly being paid up to  €150 for finding dead animals.

The core area was quickly fenced off, following confirmation of the initial case, and Brandenburg also wants to build a permanent fence on the Polish border, according to German pig industry organisation ISN. The first case was found just 6km from the Polish border and 30km from the nearest case in Poland, where cases continue to be found in wild boar and domestic pigs.

Brandenburg’s consumer protection minister Ursula Nonnemacher said last week that the plan was initially for a fixed fence in the Spree-Neisse district, with state funds are also planned so that permanent fences can also be built to the north, ISN reported.

ISN also reports that Brandenburg’s state crisis team for controlling ASF has relaxed the ban on activity on farmland, such as harvesting, in the core zone.

In a decree from Friday, the veterinary and food control offices ‘allowed the use of agricultural and forestry areas uniformly and gradually, provided that no wild boars are startled and no carcasses get into the harvest so that the animal disease is not spread’, ISN said.

The agricultural and forestry areas will first need to be completely searched for dead or sick wild boar.

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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.