Germanys swine fever fears escalate as disease spreads to more farm pigs

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The development comes just days after the disease was found to have spread to farm animals after having previously been confirmed among wild boar. Four more domestic pigs tested positive for ASF in the eastern state of Brandenburg, German authorities said. Last week it was reported that two farms in the region had been found to have cases of the fever.

Both farms are situated close to the country’s border with Poland.

The latest announcement means there are now three Brandenburg farms affected by the swine fever, which can cause the death of an animal within a week of being infected.

Two fattening pigs have already died and two sick animals had to be killed.

On Saturday a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture said the trading of live pigs and pork within the EU would continue because the infection appears to be contained within one region of Germany.

The EU has agreed to continue to allow the export of pork from German states not affected by ASF.

It comes after multiple countries outside the bloc banned imports of pig meat from Germany.

China, South Korea and Japan were among the nations to stop batches of pork from entering.

According to the ministry’s spokeswoman, regionalisation – export from disease-free areas – has been achieved with countries such as Vietnam, Singapore and Canada.

She said trade with these three countries should in principle still be possible despite the outbreak in Brandenburg.

However, she warned more non-EU states could swiftly impose bans on pork from the nation.

She explained: “While the safe trade in pork and pork products is still guaranteed, it is not ruled out that, given the current situation, third countries may impose further trade restrictions.”

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The EU agriculture ministers were expected to speak about outbreaks of ASF at their meeting earlier today.

It is not yet clear how the outbreak could affect the price of pork in Germany.

According to figures from the ministry, the slaughter price for pigs was around €1.20 per kg at the beginning of the year.

By June this had climbed to almost €1.60 and was most recently recorded at around €1.50.

The disease is not dangerous to humans but can be fatal to pigs.

The highly contagious disease can be spread by live or dead infected animals.

Transmission can also occur through contaminated objects such as knifes, vehicles, equipment and clothing.

At present, there is no approved vaccine for ASF on the market.

After cases of the fever have been discovered, it is common practice for authorities to order the slaughter of animals, controls on the movement of livestock and thorough cleaning and disinfecting practices.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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