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What’s the story on Belgium’s African swine fever outbreak?

25 September 2018, at 12:00am

The first case of African swine fever (ASF) in Western Europe was confirmed in Belgium in early September, but how has the outbreak progressed since?

It has been nearly two weeks since two wild boar were found on the borders of a village in Luxembourg, Belgium, infected with the ASF virus. Belgian authorities established emergency procedures immediately to avoid further movement of the disease, and neighbouring countries implemented their own disease prevention protocol as soon as the outbreak was confirmed.

According to the latest reports from the National Pig Association (NPA), there has now been a total of 10 wild boar confirmed to be carrying the ASF virus, all within close proximity to the first two boars. It is expected that more cases will be confirmed since the area is heavily populated with wild boar.

As a result of the outbreak, 60 commercial pig farms closest to the restriction zone have been screened for ASF and all have reported negative results (no infection was found).

It has also been confirmed that 13 countries have now banned pork exports from Belgium, including, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Belarus, Mexico, The Philippines, Japan, South Africa, Serbia, Singapore, Uruguay, Australia and Malaysia.

The NPA reported that, as a result of trade suspension, pig prices have fallen in Belgium. Belgian pigs normally slaughtered in the Netherlands will now, for a while at least, be slaughtered in Belgium.

The campaign against feeding food waste to any swine species and educating both farmers and civilians on proper waste disposal continues. Last week, the NPA met with the Road Haulage Association who agreed to help disseminate messages about ASF to lorry drivers from all sectors, not just livestock hauliers.

AHDB has also created resources for educating drivers and stockworkers on proper biosecurity which can be found in a number of languages.

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