Germany finds 30 more African swine fever in wild boar

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Another 30 cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been found in wild boars in eastern Germany, authorities said on Wednesday, in a continuing outbreak among wild animals which has halted German pork exports to Asia.

The new cases were in the eastern state of Brandenburg and bring the number of confirmed instances of the disease in wild boar to 527 in the state, Brandenburg’s health ministry said.

Along with 17 cases in the eastern region of Saxony, this brings Germany’s total reported cases to 544.

All were in wild animals with no farm pigs affected. But two of the 30 new reported cases were found about 2 kms (1.2 miles) outside the core zone where other cases were found, the Brandenburg ministry said.

Electric fences are being built around the area of the latest finds.

China, South Korea and Japan all banned German pork imports in September 2020 after ASF was found in wild boars in east Germany.

The disease is not dangerous to humans but is fatal to pigs. Pork buyers often impose import bans on countries where it has been found, even in wild animals.

The German government said in December it is continuing intensive talks with China about relaxing import bans on German pork imposed after the discovery of ASF in the country.

German pig prices remained stable this week at 1.19 euro a kilo, a level they have held since mid-November, said the association of German animal farmers VEZG on Wednesday.

Other European Union countries have expanded pork exports to Asia to replace German supplies, in turn opening up sales opportunities for Germany inside Europe.

Rises in pig prices have been limited by reduced capacity at German slaughterhouses as they implement health and safety changes to meet higher standards following several COVID-19 outbreaks in meatpacking plants.

Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise