Saxony: swine fever is spreading: so far only wild animals

ASF is an almost always fatal viral disease in wild and domestic pigs.

Saxony: swine fever is spreading: so far only wild animals

ASF is an almost always fatal viral disease in wild and domestic pigs. The State Research Institute is busy with it - and more with the healthy animals.

Dresden (dpa / sn) - African swine fever (ASF) is spreading in Saxony. "In the beginning, only the north-east in the district of Görlitz was affected, now we're already over the A4 and the A13 and the districts of Bautzen and Meißen are also affected," said Jens Albrecht, President of the State Investigation Institute (LUA) in Saxony, the German press -Agency. "The A13 in particular was a blocked line for us." The restriction zones extended to the south and west. "New cases are constantly being added in the north towards Brandenburg."

ASF is a contagious viral disease in domestic and wild pigs that is almost always fatal and incurable. There is no way to protect pigs with preventive vaccination, it said. The disease can be transmitted directly from animal to animal or indirectly by humans to other areas via contaminated objects such as clothing, shoes and feed. ASF is not contagious or dangerous to humans or other animal species.

The first case in Germany was confirmed on September 10, 2020, in a wild boar in Brandenburg. As of June 29, ASF outbreaks have been confirmed in 1,448 wild boars in the Free State, a good 80 percent of them in the Görlitz district. To contain swine fever, there are "restriction zones" where wild boar are to be hunted more intensively. "Fortunately, we have not had any cases in domestic pigs so far," said Albrecht.

Nevertheless, the LUA is extremely burdened by them. "The advantage is that you can work with blood, it's quick and it's also easier to analyze." The further the restricted zones expanded, domestic pigs leaving there would have to be randomly tested again specifically and "free" to be on the safe side, although the probability of ASF is close to zero. "Otherwise you would have noticed it long ago in the inventory."

According to Albrecht, this free testing currently "occupies quite a bit of capacity, probably even more than the direct wild tests". And there are only very few slaughterhouses in Germany that are allowed to slaughter pigs from restricted zones and put them on the market. "At the moment almost all Saxon slaughter pigs go to Schleswig-Holstein." But only after approval.

Like Corona, ASP is diagnosed with PCR, said Albrecht. "The devices can then be used by different laboratory areas as required." Blood is taken from freshly killed wild boars, and so-called swab samples are taken from a relatively fresh dead animal that is found. "The most difficult thing is when the animal has been lying down for a while, then the virus can only be found in the bone marrow." The LUA has set up its own transport logistics for this: these animals, which are now specifically searched for with specially trained dogs, arrive in special containers and vehicles. "Colleagues from animal pathology extract the sample material".

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