African swine fever (ASP) has come even closer to Germany three weeks after an outbreak in western Poland. The virus had been detected in a dead boar near Nowogrod Bobrzanski, local Mayor Pawel Mierzwiak said. The place is located 42 kilometers from the German-Polish border.
African swine fever is a viral infection affecting only wild and domestic swine. Affected animals unfortunately under fever, weakness and respiratory problems. The disease usually causes the animals to die within seven to ten days. The illness is not dangerous for humans. In Germany it has not occurred so far.
"We play the whole scenario through"
Pork farmers fear substantial losses, should the virus spread in this country. If a first case is known, an immediate export ban for pork products threatens. In addition, all affected stocks must be destroyed. The wild boar population is threatened, because the disease in the wild is difficult to contain. There is no vaccine.
Saxony has been rehearsing the serious case in a four-day large-scale exercise since Monday. "We play the whole scenario through," said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Consumer Protection. In case of emergency, a crisis team should be set up within a very short time. It is crucial to shut off the area around potentially infected animals over a large area.
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In Saarland, search dogs were trained to track down pig carcasses in an emergency. The rapid removal of the carcasses will be extremely important in the fight against epizootic diseases, because other wild boars can be infected by deceased conspecifics. Denmark has built a wild boar fence for protection against the virus, which was completed earlier this week.
African swine fever is currently raging, especially in Asia - and also in this country prices for schnitzel, sausages and other pork products. In Europe, especially Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Baltic States are affected by the disease.
On Monday, the Polish county seat Zielona Gora prohibited its inhabitants from entering the surrounding forests. According to news agency PAP, the virus was detected there in four dead boars. Zielona Gora is located about 60 kilometers from the border with Germany.
The African swine fever is carried over contaminated items such as tools, shoes or tires. Also, infested with the virus food and contaminated feed can spread the infection. Travelers who come to Germany from countries affected by the African swine fever are therefore advised not to discard their sausage products carelessly at the roadside.