African Swine Fever in Belgium
On Sept. 13, 2018, African swine fever (ASF) was detected in Belgium’s wild boar population. This was the first recent ASF case in western Europe and Belgium’s first case since 1985. Belgium is the ninth EU member state to confirm a recent case of ASF, with all other recent outbreaks being in the Eastern European and Baltic Region countries of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Among non-EU countries in Europe, ASF is also present in Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. The outbreak in Belgium is far removed from the EU’s previously westernmost recent case in the Czech Republic, heightening concerns about ASF’s spread into western Europe. So far Poland is the only large pork exporter in the EU to report outbreaks of ASF, causing some trading partners to close to Polish pork. If ASF is detected in any of the EU’s largest pork-exporting countries – Germany, Spain, Denmark or the Netherlands – the impact on global pork trade could be very significant.