KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Officials in Belgium confirmed the presence of African Swine Fever in two wild boar in the town of Étalle, roughly 10 km from France.
In response to the finding, Stéphane Travert, Minister of Agriculture and Food in France, requested zoning measures, restrictions on hunting and enhanced surveillance of livestock to be implemented in four French counties that border Belgium — Ardennes, Meuse, Moselle and Meurthe and Moselle.
“This health alert of maximum level, requires a collective mobilization, including breeders and hunters, to prevent the introduction or spread of this disease on our territory,” Travert said.
Native to Africa, ASF has spread to Eastern European countries and China, which recently barred movement of live swine from 10 provinces surrounding six others that have reported outbreaks of African Swine Fever.
The most recent outbreak in China was in the province of Anhui where a total of 1,760 pigs were culled, according to a report filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The affected provinces include Anhui, Liaoning, Henan, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
Reuters reported that China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs banned feeding food waste to pigs and using pig blood as raw material in feed for pigs. The government also closed live markets in 16 provinces in an effort to stop the spread of the disease.
African Swine Fever is a hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar and American feral pigs. ASF is highly contagious, and swine of all age groups are susceptible to it. Currently, there are no vaccines against the disease. Mortality rates in a swineherd can be as high as 100 percent, and death can occur within two to 10 days on average, according to the OIE. The virus isn’t harmful to humans and doesn’t represent a food safety risk.
In related news, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila asked the European Union for financial aid for swine farmers affected by ASF outbreaks in that country. In August, ASF was confirmed on TEBU Consult, Romania’s largest swine operation, resulting in a cull of more than 140,000 pigs.