An outbreak of African swine fever detected in Germany

An outbreak of African swine fever has been detected in a pig farm in Germany, 6 kilometers from the French border, in Forchheim am Kaiserstuhl, the French Ministry of Agriculture announced on Thursday.

The affected farm, with 35 free-range pigs, was completely depopulated. “No case has been identified at this stage within the wildlife in the surrounding area”, specified the ministry, which will launch a crisis unit “next week” with “all the professionals and services of the ‘State “.

No treatment, no vaccine

African swine fever kills pigs, wild boars and warthogs within ten days of infection, according to the European Food Safety Authority, and has no treatment or vaccine. On the scale of an affected farm, all the pigs are slaughtered. Congeners from neighboring farms are usually also to avoid the spread.

The virus is transmitted from one animal to another through the consumption of infected foodstuffs – for example if domestic pigs are fed leftovers – or through contact with any contaminated medium. Not transmissible to humans, the virus can however survive for more than two months in meat and cold cuts from affected animals.

An agreement with China

Since January 2020, cases have been reported in 38 countries across five continents, with more than 1.1 million cases in domestic pigs and more than 34,000 in wild boars, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). ).

African swine fever is circulating in particular in wildlife in Italy, where an emergency plan to stem the virus in the Rome region, which has had eight cases since the start of the year, has been launched.

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The economic consequences linked to the virus can be heavy for breeders. At the national level, the country loses its free status, which implies a limitation or even a ban on exports outside the European Union not only of live pigs but also of pork products. States generally negotiate “regionalization” agreements, so that their free regions can continue to export.

France signed an agreement with China in December, allowing it to continue exporting pork to this major customer, even if a case of African swine fever were to arise in the territory. China, the world’s leading producer, consumer and importer of this meat, is a big market for France. In 2020, the country absorbed almost a third of French exports.

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