France calls for measures after African swine fever found in Belgium

African swine fever

There is no cure for the disease, meaning that infected pigs must be slaughtered.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert called for restrictions on hunting activities and also urged for increasing surveillance of livestock as well as wildlife.

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

The EU is collectively the world's second-largest pigmeat producer after China and the largest exporter, with most of its pork industry concentrated in Germany, Denmark, France and Spain.

The fight against the disease is not a public health issue but an animal and economic health issue.

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.

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"This new outbreak represents the expansion of the disease, for the first time during the current pandemic, into Western Europe", said Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center in the United States.

It added: "Biosecurity in pig farms is essential and the FASFC ensures that it is permanently properly insured".

The virus can be transmitted easily from one animal to another, either through close contacts between individuals or by contaminated equipment such as vehicles or boots.

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).

"The different levels of power will continue to work closely together to maximise the effectiveness of prevention and control measures".

Danish Environment and Food Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen has said in a statement earlier, "In case of an outbreak of African swine fever, the export to non-EU countries will shut down". It is important to stress that ASF only affects pigs and wild boars, not humans, but it is a severe disease for those animals. They are thus trying to stop the spread of this infection across pig farms.

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