Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

France on high alert after Belgian African swine fever case

France on high alert after Belgian African swine fever case

The most recent cases in Europe could be linked to food thrown away by people who had travelled from zones where the disease is present, Belgium's food safety agency said in its statement.

African swine fever only affects pigs, hogs and boars in which it causes high mortality.

Stéphane Travert, Minister of Agriculture and Food, has asked the authorities in the regions bordering Belgium - Ardennes, Meuse, Moselle and Meurthe and Moselle - to implement the "strengthened action plan specific to this disease", under the coordination of DGAL (General Directorate of Food) to prevent the introduction of the virus into France. This however was limited to the Eastern nations, Baltic States and Poland and Germany remained the major pork producer without swine fever fears.

A statement issued by Belgium's Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) stressed the fight against the disease was not a public health issue but rather an animal and economic health issue.

It added: "Biosecurity in pig farms is essential and the FASFC ensures that it is permanently properly insured".

Denmark announced plans to build a fence along its border with Germany to keep ASF out, despite its southern neighbor not recording any cases so far.

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The men are believed to have been agents for the Russian military intelligence service, according to Swiss and Dutch media. Beyond confirming the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service's collaboration, the AG's office did not elaborate further.

China has confirmed two new outbreaks of African swine fever in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and central China's Henan Province, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said Friday.

"We know that ASF can be spread through contaminated human food, so it is important to remain vigilant and discourage all farm workers from discarding human food into fields or areas where pigs or wild boar could get access".

Meanwhile there have been 14 outbreaks of the African swine fever across China in the past month.

This is the first reported case of the disease in Belgium since 1985. This is close to the Russian border where the infection is spreading for some years now say authorities.

"This health alert of maximum level, requires a collective mobilisation, particularly of breeders and hunters, to prevent the introduction or spread of this disease on our territory", he said.

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