African swine fever (ASF) has been confirmed by Belgian authorities, escalating worries of the virus’ move into western Europe.
The country’s food safety agency said it had identified two wild boars carrying the disease around the southern village of Étalle, in the Belgian province of Luxembourg.
The Belgian authorities said they were working across multiple government agencies to prevent the possible spread of the disease among wild boar and onto pig farms, which it stressed were currently ‘unscathed’ from the disease.
In an emergency meeting today, the agency said ‘field monitoring measures’ were in place’, enabling the authorities to detect the suspected cases in dead boars.
“Samples were taken directly and sent to Sciensano. He confirms today that wild boars carry the virus responsible for ASF. Wildlife control and prevention measures within pig farms are now being implemented at the regional and federal levels, respectively, in a high-performance collaborative framework. Biosecurity in pig farms is essential and the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) ensures that it is permanently properly insured,” the agency said.
China’s Continuing Struggle to Control the Spread
Live hogs and pig products have been banned in 10 additional regions in China, as the country struggles to control the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF). These regions are located along the six provinces that have reported ASF outbreaks in recent weeks.
Live markets will also be closed, according to the notice by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs dated Sept. 11, and confirmed by Reuters.
The affected areas include the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Jilin, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Hubei and Shaanxi as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the city of Shanghai.
The goal is to prevent the spread of the disease into the central part of the country where the greatest percent of the Chinese swine herd is located.
Pig movement has already stopped in the six provinces that have reported. Liaoning in the northeast is estimated to export 20% of its pigs each year to the southern part of the country, under normal conditions.
The move has also pressured prices in the north as hog supplies accumulate because of the transport ban, and sent southern prices soaring.
Pork prices in the Zhejiang province have increased 23% since the outbreak, due to the transportation ban, reports NPR.
Complicating pork price disruptions even further is China's trade war with the U.S. Pork makes up about two-thirds of China’s meat consumption.