Germany confirms African swine fever cases in five more wild boars

A town sign for Gross Drewitz in Germany is seen with a note reading "African swine fever in wild pigs, key area", Sept 12, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

HAMBURG (REUTERS) - Five more cases of African swine fever (ASF) found in wild boars in the eastern German state of Brandenburg on Tuesday have been confirmed, the Brandenburg state government and federal agriculture ministry said on Wednesday (Sept 16).

This brings to six the number of cases of swine fever confirmed in wild boars in Germany in the last week.

The disease was found in dead wild boars, not farmed animals, close to the location of the first confirmed case of ASF last week, the Brandenburg state health ministry said.

Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler scientific institute had confirmed the animals had ASF following positive initial tests in Brandenburg state laboratories, the federal ministry said.

China and a series of other pork buyers have banned imports of German pork since the first case was confirmed.

The disease is not dangerous to humans but is fatal to pigs, and a massive outbreak in China has led to hundreds of millions of pigs being culled.

ASF had repeatedly been confirmed in wild boars in Poland close to the German border in past months.

There have been about 3,100 cases in wild boar in Poland so far in 2020, the Friedrich-Loeffler institute said on its website.

Germany's federal agriculture ministry said in a separate statement it had to be expected that the highly infectious disease would have been transmitted to other wild boars following the discovery of the first dead animal.

The Brandenburg authorities are intensifying protection measures around the area where ASF was discovered to prevent it spreading, the federal ministry said.

"In addition, the ministry is in intensive talks with the relevant third countries to enable a regionalisation concept for trade with pork to these countries," the federal ministry said.

Regionalisation means pork imports are only banned from the region inside the supplier country, with unaffected areas in the country continuing exports.

Germany's pork exports to the EU continue, the federal ministry added.

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