African Swine Fever found in Belgium

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The notifiable disease of pigs, African Swine Fever (ASF), has been confirmed in Belgium.

The Belgian food safety agency has identified two wild boars carrying the disease around the southern village of Étalle, in the Belgian province of Luxembourg.

The source of the outbreak has not been confirmed but the agency said the recent increased levels of spread across much of Europe ‘could be the consequence of introducing leftover food left behind by travellers from infected areas’.

The risk level of ASF entering the UK via products has already been raised to ‘medium’ following outbreaks on large Romanian farms.

The National Pig Association (NPA) is concerned about the risk of disease spread posed by feral boar, particularly in the Forest of Dean. It will continue to discuss the situation with Defra and to work with other organisations in and around the forest to raise awareness of the risks.

You can visit the NPA website for more information and read the NPA's full ASF briefing here.

Contingency plans

The NPA is urging all pig producers to consider their contingency plans in the event that the virus does make it to the UK. This would result in the imposition of movement controls and other restrictions. Read the government’s strategy for controlling ASF.

NPA advice, including precautionary activity and contingency planning to keep the ASF virus out of the UK pig herd:

  • Ensure pigs are not fed catering waste, kitchen scraps or pork products, thereby observing the swill feeding ban.
  • Feeding of meat products, including swill, kitchen scraps and catering waste, to wild boar or feral pigs is also illegal.
  • It is essential to ensure that no pigmeat products are taken onto farms, for example in workers’ lunches.
  • All pig keepers should ensure that visitors to their premises have not had recent contact with affected regions.
  • Anybody returning from the affected EU member states should avoid contact with domestic pigs, whether commercial holdings or smallholdings, areas with feral pigs or wild boar, until they are confident they have no contaminated clothing, footwear or equipment.
  • Please familiarise yourself with the symptoms of ASF and report any suspicions immediately to your vet.

Last edited on: 14:09:2018

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