ASF is a viral disease that affects wild and domestic pigs. Animals that are infected often have symptoms such as high fever, lack of appetite, problems with the respiratory tract or digestion and skin discolouration. For most animals, the disease has fatal results, often within a week. There is no vaccination. The virus is harmless for humans, however. If ASF were to break out in Germany, it would not only affect the animals but also have dire economic consequences for the farmers. If it spread in the wild boar population, it would carry particularly high risks. For game stocks, effective control of animal diseases can often be performed only under difficult circumstances. This is compounded by the fact that the ASF virus can sometimes stay infectious in the environment for about six months.
Transmission routes of African swine fever
ASF can be transmitted directly from animal to animal and indirectly through vectors, for example through infected blood, bones or contaminated pork products. There is a high risk of contamination by persons and freight traffic. A carelessly discarded sausage roll contaminated with the ASF virus can quickly become a carrier. Wild boars that rummage through garbage and pick up infected materials can fall ill and spread the disease to other boars. No pork products should be brought in from the affected countries and regions.
Prevention of African swine fever
By systematically sharing information, becoming aware of the topic and taking the right preventive measures, everyone can help minimise the risk of spreading the disease in the pig population. Biosecurity is the top priority at pig farms.
Biosecurity on farms
To reduce the risk of infections with ASF at local operations, every farmer should strictly follow all biosecurity measures. Adhering to the black-white principle has the top priority. In all cases, it is crucial to separate the dirty “black” and clean “white” areas or the exterior and interior areas of the farm. Farm-own clothing, foot baths with disinfectants and rodent and fly control are reliable steps. The direct and indirect contact of domestic and wild pigs should be stopped. One important factor is to ensure that the feedstuff is stored out of reach of wild boars. By implementing the hygiene ordinance for pig farms, you can protect your stock from animal diseases.