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African swine fever: Belgium on its way to victory

The Belgian strategy for combatting African swine fever in wild boar and preventing the further spread of the disease is bearing fruit. The number of cases has dropped sharply and the end of the virus seems to be nigh.

Belgium has always been free of African swine fever in domesticated pigs and still is. On 13 September 2018, African swine fever was first observed on Belgian territory in two wild boars near to Etalle, in the province of Luxembourg, the southernmost province of Belgium. Until today, 4970 wild boars have been analysed, of which 833 tested positive. As of March 2019, the number of cases in Belgium dropped sharply and further spread of the virus was prevented. This is the result of strict measures implemented by the competent authorities.

The latest outbreak of African swine fever in an animal that died recently dates back to 11 August 2019. That was the only case in August. No new cases have been discovered since September, only infected bones. In 4 of the 6 cases, the remains were more than 6 months old. The last wild boar that was infected with African swine fever is said to have died somewhere between the beginning of July and the beginning of October.

So the prospects are positive for Belgium. In March 2019, the Czech Republic regained its ASF-free status and allegedly Belgium might be the next country according to the EFSA[1]. In both countries it was a case of an isolated introduction, far removed from other outbreaks.

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[1] EFSA Journal 18 December 2019 - Epidemiological analyses of African swine fever in the European Union (November 2018 to October 2019)