African swine fever: human responsible for spread

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"The virus moves us, geographically, closer and closer," said Bauverband President Joachim Rukwied the Handelsblatt. It has since been detected in several Eastern European countries and is expanding westwards, Rukwied continued. Also in Belgium, African swine fever had already occurred over a year ago. "The likelihood that it also hits Germany is increasing."

African swine fever is a highly contagious virus and dangerous to domestic and wild boar. For humans and other animals there is no danger according to current knowledge, pork can be consumed further. For most pigs, however, the disease ends fatally within a few days. There is no vaccine yet.

Since 2007, the pathogen, coming from Africa, spreads in Europe and threatens millions of domestic and wild boars. In addition to many African countries, ASP is present in Europe in the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as in Poland, Romania and Sardinia.

In September 2018, the first case of ASP was detected in Belgium. Russia is still reporting cases. By contrast, in the Czech Republic, no ASP cases have occurred since April 2018. Moldova has recently been added. In addition, China and since 2019 Vietnam and Cambodia have been affected since 2018.

Consequences also for the domestic pig stock

An outbreak of the epidemic in Germany would have significant economic consequences. Even if the virus were discovered in a wild boar, the consequences would also be for the domestic pig population. "An outbreak in Germany would probably mean that we can no longer export to so-called third countries, ie to countries outside the EU," said Rukwied.

It is to be feared that the current good producer prices would fall. The export, especially to Asia, is important, because it was mainly the parts of the pig that the German consumer did not eat, such as paw, offal, ears, fat or bacon.

In the case of an outbreak in domestic pig herds, all pigs in the stocks concerned would have to be killed. It would establish large areas Sperrbezirke and observation areas in which the transport of animals and their products would be prohibited in principle.

Already last year, the farmers' association had warned that an outbreak of the disease in Germany for pig farmers could cost losses of two to three billion euros per year. With follow-up costs for the upstream and downstream areas and the actual disease control costs could amount to tens of billions.

In order to protect itself, Denmark has just completed a 1.50 meter high fence along the German-Danish border. For more than 70 kilometers, this bulwark runs through the border region. Finally, pig and pork production is one of the main sources of income for Denmark, with many jobs mainly in rural areas.

Man responsible for the spread of the disease

Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) now appealed in a letter to the relevant state ministries and various federal ministries to help raise awareness of African swine fever. The African swine fever (ASP) has made jumps over greater distances, according to the letter, which is the Handelsblatt.

These are not easily explained by movements of infected boars. Recent cases have shown that the human factor is "of not inconsiderable importance for the spread of the disease".

Specifically, this means that the virus spreads by carelessly thrown away pork products, but also by contaminated vehicles or shoes. The pathogen is extremely resistant. He spends a month in salami and more than a year in Parma ham.

Klöckner writes that the current evidence of the ASP virus in Poland has prompted her to intensify the information campaign that has been running since 2014 for the proper disposal of food waste. "Please only throw food leftovers in sealed garbage containers!", It says on a warning note, translated into several languages.

The addressees of this information are above all farmers, hunters, travelers with bus, train, car, truck driver, but also harvest workers from other European member states, foreign nurses and members of the Bundeswehr, who are temporarily active abroad. In order to prevent the introduction of ASP into the EU, the transport of pigmeat and pork products from non-EU countries is prohibited.

Farmers' Association President Rukwied demanded that the provision be further strengthened. In his opinion, this includes a significant reduction of the boar population. Reduced wild boar density would significantly reduce the risk of spread, according to the website of the Ministry of Agriculture.

More: The perfect meat: four online shops for animal welfare and climate.

(TagToTranslate) Swine fever (t) Pest (t) Boar (t) Bundeswehr (t) Belgium (t) Julia Klöckner (t) Federal Ministry of Agriculture (t) Pigs (t) Disease (t) German Farmers' Association (t) Joachim Rukwied (t ) Julia Klöckner (t) Livestock

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