First cases of swine fever in Belgium since 1985

Two cases of African swine fever have been diagnosed in Luxembourg Province. The Federal Food Safety Agency (FAVV) has confirmed that two wild boar have been found to be infected with the disease. The cases are the first in Belgium more than 30 years. The farming union ABS has expressed its concern and calls for a cull of all wild boar in Belgium. 

Two wild boar were found dead in woodland in Etalle in the south of Luxembourg Province. A veterinary examination of the boar found that they had died of African swine fever. The disease is highly infectious among pigs, but harmless to humans.  

There is no treatment for or vaccine against African swine fever. Measures are been taken in the area around Etalle to stop the disease from spreading. FAVV’s spokesman Philippe Houdart told journalists that these are mainly restrictions on hunting and on the transportation of pigs to and from a few pig farms in the area.

From Eastern Europe to Southern Belgium

African swine fever has been present in Eastern Europe for a number of years. There both wild boar and farm-reared pigs have become infected.

However, in recent months the disease has spread west. The FAVV says that the cases here could have been caused by travelers from Eastern Europe having dumped left over food that was eastern by the wild boar. In 1985 there was an epidemic of swine fever in West Flanders. 12 pig farms were infected and 185 pig farms were put under lock down. 30,000 pigs had to be destroyed.    

“Situation is under control”

The Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) says that there is currently no danger to health as a result of the swine fever outbreak. “The situation is being followed closely. The situation is currently under control”, Ms De Block told VRT News.

Meanwhile, the Federal Economy Minister Kris Peeters (Flemish Christian democrat) said that he “presumes that there is no danger”.