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Farmers warned over outbreak of deadly African Swine Fever in Germany

It’s the first time the disease, which affects pigs and wild boar, has broken out in Germany.

Image: Shutterstock/krumanop

IRISH FARMERS ARE being warned about an outbreak of deadly African Swine Fever (ASF) in Germany.

The Department of Agriculture of Food and the Marine (DAFM) said today that ASF has been identified for the first time in Germany.

ASF is a deadly disease of pigs and wild boar, and was confirmed yesterday in the eastern area of Spree-Neisse within a few kilometres of the Polish border.

The Department said that ASF virus, which is highly fatal for pigs and wild boar, does not affect humans and poses no food safety risk.

Reports to date indicate that the infection involves a single wild boar which was found dead and there have been no reports of the disease in domestic pigs in Germany.
The Department has confirmed that there has been no importation of live pigs from Germany into Ireland this year to date.

According to the department, ASF first entered Poland in 2014 and has been spreading in the wild boar population in the western part of the country since November of last year.

EU legislation controls the movement of pigs and pig products from areas affected by ASF in Poland.

Wild boar have played a major role in the spread of the disease in mainland Europe through their natural movements and interactions.

While Ireland does not have a sustainable wild boar population, the department said that the virus “can also be spread through other ways including contact with infected live pigs, contaminated clothing, footwear, vehicles and equipment and the consumption of infected food waste by pigs”.

The World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE) reported that ASF currently affects more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa including 12 EU Member States in 2020.

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ASF virus has had an enormous impact on the pig sectors of affected countries as a result of international trade restrictions being imposed.

Pigmeat exports for Ireland are estimated at €941 million for 2019 according to Bord Bia.

The Department said it wants to reinforce the message “of the need for extreme vigilance on the part of all pig owners to ensure that robust biosecurity measures are implemented on their farms, to prevent pigs from accessing food waste and to ensure that pigs do not come into contact with contaminated clothing, vehicles, footwear or equipment originating in ASF affected areas of the world”.

It also said it wants to remind all travellers to avoid bringing back any pork or pork products from areas affected with ASF.

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