"Blitzkrieg" on ASF
The alert was triggered for the German meat industry as African Swine Fever makes quick steps at the Polish border and threatens to enter its territory. The discovery of a wild boar carcass infected with the virus at almost 40 kilometers away from the border has put the German authorities on high alert.
"It is no longer a question of knowing whether ASF will reach Germany, but when! The virus can survive in mud on vehicle wheels for up to 100 days," Torsten Reinwald, the spokesman for the German Hunting Federation, said in an interview for AFP. Hunters are ready to put down any wild boar that enters the German territory but they are not alone in this fight against a disease that could kill millions of pigs in the farms.
Several German regions are now using various methods to keep track of the virus, and a special unit of six sniffer dogs set up to find dead and sick boars has been stationed in Sarre, which is close to France.
In Saxony, bordering on Poland, hunters, vets and emergency workers are being trained to take practical measures in the field. Using drones and infrared cameras, they simulate the infection outbreaks and how it could be handled.
Farther to the north, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has purchased a 50-kilometer long, mobile electric fence for €50,000, in the hope of limiting the intrusions of wild boar coming from Poland, reports Brussels Times newspaper.
"The possibility of an infection coming from sick wild boars crossing the border is very high, more today as the result of human oversight", concluded Sandra Blome, the director of the national swine fever laboratories at the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. The disease is present in Poland since 2014 but has affected other countries in East Europe too: Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lituania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldavia, Slovakia, Romania.
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