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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

African Swine Fever Persists in Germany


Sporadic outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) have occurred in the state of Brandenburg affecting small-scale hog farms. Wild boars that have migrated westward from Poland have infected domestic hogs in Brandenburg and adjacent Saxony.  Attempts at limiting cross-border movement and reducing the boar population have been unsuccessful. Maintaining an acceptable level of biosecurity is difficult on small farms. The presence of AFS within the two eastern states of Germany has severely constrained national pork exports and consequently a number of packing plants have closed.


The epidemiology of AFS in Central Europe should be a warning for the U.S.  In the event of introduction of African swine fever from Caribbean nations, the domestic population of wild boars would become infected and serve as a reservoir of virus complicating control and almost eliminating the possibility of eradication.  Obviously measures to reduce the population of wild boars that are themselves destructive, should be intensified as previously advocated in CHICK-NEWS. 


As with highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry, control will only be achieved with the deployment of an effective and safe vaccine.  Evaluation of innovative products including a candidate vaccine developed by USDA-ARS and under test in Vietnam should demonstrate the extent and duration of protection of commercial herds. A slaughter-out policy has been shown to be ineffective in both Haiti and the adjoining Dominican Republic. Accordingly APHIS is advised to update their playbook to accommodate to the realities of the infection.  With respect to ASF, the USDA should be pleased that pigs cannot fly and interdiction of infection is possible with intensified control at points of entry.  Funds expended on border and port surveillance are justified given the potential losses following possible introduction of ASF.

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