Belgium finds African swine fever in military camp

Belgian authorities document 29 cases of ASF and discover dead boar in military camp. Was ASF introduced to Belgium by soldiers?
calendar icon 8 October 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

With 29 confirmed cases of African swine fever (ASF) in Belgium and around 4,150 domestic pigs culled, the most recent reports emerging from Belgian media could provide an answer as to how the virus entered the country.

On 21 September 2018, three wild boar were found dead in the grounds of a military camp in Luxembourg, two of which were confirmed to be infected with ASF, as reported by Flanders News.

The discovery of the corpses at the military camp and subsequent analysis of their decomposition has led to the belief that one of the infected boars was one of the first boars infected in Belgium in the recent outbreak of ASF. This discovery has led to the speculation that ASF could have entered the country and reached wild boar populations through indirect contact with contaminated items brought in by returning soldiers.

Belgian authorities have already implemented strict biosecurity measures, including movement restrictions; restricted outdoor access for domestic pigs; and the ban on the feeding of food waste to swine species.

Authorities have also emphasised that the infected regions continue to be low-risk for domestic herds as very few domestic pigs are kept in these areas. This said, the APHA warns that the high boar populations still pose a threat and only increase the chances of ASF spreading.

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Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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