Compiled by Ann Hess
Over 155,000 acres in Belgium have been closed to hunting, while France is stepping up surveillance in four counties bordering the country. All of this action follows the confirmation last week of African swine fever in two wild boars near the southern village of Étalle in Belgium.
According to Reuters, Wallonia’s agriculture ministry is prohibiting hunting in a 63,000 hectare-wide (155,676 acre) area to prevent the animals from spreading out. Meanwhile France’s agriculture ministry has promised to reinforce surveillance and has requested extra measures be taken to protect pig farms and processors.
ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs that produces a wide range of clinical signs and lesions that closely resemble those of classical swine fever, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. This is the first time ASF has been diagnosed in Belgium since 1985, when 12 farms were infected and 60 farms (34,041 animals) were eliminated.
Belgium and France aren’t the only countries taking precaution. Politico reported Monday that Germany has been sending experts to some of the eastern countries to help advise measures to take to avoid more spreading, while Denmark has announced plans to build a fence along its border with Germany to keep ASF out, despite the disease not being present there yet.
In a statement the Belgium food safety agency said, some the latest European cases could be connected to discarded food from people who had traveled to areas where the disease is present.