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German states prepare for swine fever outbreak and intensify preventative strategies

With African swine fever (ASF) circulating on Germany's doorstep, German authorities are intensifying measures to keep the disease out of its national pig herd.

18 February 2020, at 11:42am

Germany's Minister of Agriculture Barbara Otte-Kinast announced this week that Lower Saxony would follow in the footsteps of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) to establish a wildlife epidemic prevention group. She insisted that other federal states follow suit as fast, consistent and coordinated action would be critical to mitigating an outbreak of ASF in Germany's wild boar.

The virus has continued to emerge in wild boar and domestic pig stocks in western Poland, threatening to move further west to Germany. This said, German authorities are confident that security measures already implemented in domestic production will keep the disease out - the problem will be with controlling its spread in wild pigs which are prevalent in rural states.

The establishment of a wildlife epidemic prevention group would allow the rapid coordination of carcass collection, site decontamination and hunting of infected wild boar which greatly reduces the chances of the disease spreading in that environment. The ability to install fencing quickly would also aid with mitigating boar movement.

The ISN says that a lot has happened in the past year to prepare for ASF in Germany so that pig farmers can continue to deliver adequate numbers of pigs if an outbreak was to occur.

"NRW has taken a big step forward with the establishment of an animal disease prevention company," says ISN.