African swine fever detected in Germany

Further cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in farm pigs in Germany, according to Germany’s federal agriculture ministry.

One was in the western state of Lower Saxony which was previously free of the disease and one in the eastern state of Brandenburg where the disease has been found before.

Some 280 pigs and 1,500 piglets on the farm in Emsland in Lower Saxony were due to be slaughtered over the weekend, the Lower Saxony state farm ministry said separately. 

China and a number of other important pork markets first banned imports of meat from German pigs in September 2020 after the first case was confirmed in wild animals. Discoveries on farms of further cases will make it harder for Germany to have the export bans lifted, analysts say.

The disease is not dangerous to humans but it is fatal to pigs. Many countries impose bans on pork from regions suffering from the disease, distorting world food trade.

Wild boar coming into Germany from Poland were believed to have spread the disease to Germany in the eastern states of Brandenburg and Saxony, where over 2,000 cases in wild animals have occurred.

The German government has sought to contain and eradicate ASF in the east partly by reducing the wild boar population. 

However, the country’s large number of wild boar, wandering over large distances, has made containment difficult.

In May, another ASF case was also found on a farm in the south German state of Baden-Wuerttemburg.