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2 cases of African swine fever detected in Belgium

Staff Writer |
Two cases of African swine fever have been detected in wild boars found recently dead in the Belgian region of Wallonia, in the municipality of Etalle in the province of Luxembourg, said a press release issued on Thursday by Afsca (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain) and the SPW (Public Service of Wallonia).

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In Belgium, some field monitoring measures have been well implemented, allowing the most recent detection of suspected cases in some dead boars.

However, to palliate the current virus from spreading, the SPW is preparing further measures to, inter alia, avoid the dispersal of wild boars from the infected zone as well as the provisions relating to hunting.

The disease has no impact on humans, but the spread of the virus still poses a great risk because there is currently no treatment or possible vaccination against the disease.

Belgium remains unscathed from the disease at the level of pig farms.

"The fight against the disease is not a public health issue" because it is not contagious for humans, "but rather it is a challenge for animal health and economic sustainability," said Afsca and the SPW on Thursday in a joint statement.

This virus can be transmitted easily from one animal to another either through close contacts between individuals, or by contaminated equipment (transport equipment, boots, etc.) or via food remains carrying the virus and abandoned by humans.

The wild boars found dead in Wallonia were carriers of the African swine fever virus (ASFV). ASFV is native to Africa and has been present for several years in Eastern European countries, both in domestic pigs and wild boars.

In recent months, it has spread more rapidly and further west, affecting countries that were previously unscathed.

The SPW reminds everyone, in particular walkers and trek enthusiasts, to abide by the strict application of the forest code namely: the prohibition to leave the roads, roads and trails and the obligation to keep dogs on a leash. Specific information will be communicated to loggers in due course.

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