Germany confirms three more swine fever cases in wild boar

FILE PHOTO: The town sign of Gross Drewitz is seen with a note reading "African swine fever in wild pigs, key area", Gross Drewitz, Spree-Neisse, Germany September 12, 2020. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

HAMBURG (Reuters) - A further three cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boar in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, Germany’s federal agriculture ministry said on Thursday.

The discoveries bring the total confirmed cases to 32 since the first one on Sept. 10, all in wild animals, with no farm pigs affected.

All have been found in the region of the first discovery in the Brandenburg area.

Germany’s Friedrich-Loeffler scientific institute had confirmed the latest three animals had ASF, the ministry said.

China and a series of other pork buyers banned imports of German pork this month after the first case, causing Chinese pork prices to surge this week.

The disease is not dangerous to humans but it is fatal to pigs and a massive outbreak in China, the world’s biggest pork producer, has led to hundreds of millions of pigs being culled.

The German ministry had warned previously that more cases in wild boar were to be expected as animals move around in groups and the disease is easily transmissible. All dead wild boar in the Brandenburg region are being tested for the disease.

The Brandenburg regional government has decided to build a fixed fence to prevent wild boar crossing from Poland into Germany. Germany had feared a spread of the disease after wild boar in Poland were confirmed only about 10 kilometres from Germany. Several hundred kilometres of temporary cattle fences had been set up along Germany’s border with Poland.

German pig prices remained stable this week on hopes of increased exports to the EU as other European exporters raised sales to China and elsewhere in Asia to fill the sudden gap left by the German import bans.

Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Jason Neely and David Evans