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2 cases of African swine fever detected in Belgium

16 September 2018

According to the food safety agency (AFSCA Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain) and the SPW (Public Service of Wallonia), from Belgium two boars with the disease around the southern village of Étalle were detected.

African swine fever causes haemorrhages in pigs and is usually fatal, with the most severe strains of the disease known to kill almost 100% of those infected.

The agriculture ministry said an inspection team would be formed to patrol major provinces that could be under threat from the disease.

Since 2014 there has been a steady rise in cases of swine fever across Europe.

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Stéphane Travert, Minister of Agriculture and Food, has asked the authorities in the regions bordering Belgium - Ardennes, Meuse, Moselle and Meurthe and Moselle - to implement the "strengthened action plan specific to this disease", under the coordination of DGAL (General Directorate of Food) to prevent the introduction of the virus into France.

Although the disease reached mainland Europe in 2007, it only breached the European Union in 2014 in the Baltic States and Poland.

Belgian authorities said they were working at various levels of government to prevent the possible spread to pig farms.

The fight against the disease is not a public health issue but an animal and economic health issue.
Romania is Europe's second-largest pig farm.

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It warned: "If the disease were to reach the United Kingdom it would have a devastating effect on our export market and would also mean the humane culling of pigs on infected premises to prevent further spread".

Belgium has confirmed an outbreak of African swine fever, marking a further spread of the disease that has hit farms in Eastern Europe and China and which could now threaten Western Europe's large pig industry.

Meanwhile there have been 14 outbreaks of the African swine fever across China in the past month. This is close to the Russian border where the infection is spreading for some years now say authorities.

The outbreak has caused alarm in neighbouring France, with the ministry of agriculture issuing a statement saying it represents "a new progression of the disease..."

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2 cases of African swine fever detected in Belgium