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ASF Case in Belgium Heightens Concerns in Western Europe

As we reported on Thursday, African swine fever (ASF) has been detected in Belgium’s wild boar population. This is the first recent ASF case in western Europe and Belgium’s first case since 1985. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) notification report is now available online. 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. In a special report, the European Livestock and Meat Trading Union (UECBV) notes that the area in which the wild boars were found in Belgium is only about 6 miles from the border with France, 12 miles from Luxembourg and 30 miles from Germany. The report also states that the wild boars were in an advanced state of decomposition, meaning that ASF has been present in the area for some time. The Swine Health Information Center also issued this announcement.

Belgian authorities are conducting a census on all pig farms. Certification of exports to countries outside the EU has stopped and Belgian authorities are in contact with trading partners to inform them of the situation. South Korea, Japan and South Africa have suspended imports of Belgian pork as a result of the ASF case, with some additional trading partners expected to take similar action.