African Swine Fever: 2 cases confirmed in Belgium

Belgian authorities confirmed two cases of African Swine Fever last night marking the closest the current epidemic of the disease has come to the UK.

The cases were both discovered in wild boars in the commune of Etalle (a province of Luxembourg).

A statement explained that “coordinated actions” between departments are taken to prevent a possible spread of the virus in both wildlife and pig farms.

However, no pig farms have yet been infected in the country.

A statement read: “The Food Agency, the national reference laboratory Sciensano and the Walloon Region met on September 13 in an emergency meeting to identify the measures to be adopted in a coordinated way in Belgium following the confirmation of two cases of wild boar contaminated by the virus responsible for the disease known as African Swine Fever.

The fight against the disease is not a public health issue but an animal and economic health issue.

“Competencies are divided between the regional level for wildlife health and the federal level for the health of farm and domestic pigs.”

The situation is taken very seriously by Belgian authorities given the potential impact for the livestock and hunting sectors.

Wildlife control and prevention measures within pig farms are now being implemented and biosecurity in pig farms increased.

African Swine Fever

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a contagious viral disease affecting pigs and wild boars, but not humans.

The virus can be transmitted easily from one animal to another, either through close contacts between individuals or by contaminated equipment such as vehicles or boots.

It can also be transferred through food remains and worryingly even survives cooking.

There is currently no treatment or vaccination against the disease. Strict prevention and control measures are defined at European and national level.