Belgium is officially declared free from African Swine Fever

14 Jan 2021

Belgium officially earned a new status from the World Organization of Animal Health confirming the country is free from African Swine Fever (ASF). This updated status is the first time since September 2018 that the country has officially been declared ASF-free.

To receive the official determination of being ASF-free, a country must show that it has experienced zero cases of the disease for the period of one year. Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain was able to show that all pigs, hogs and boars within the country’s borders are disease-free with the last reported case of this disease recorded in August 2019.

Belgium is officially declared free from African Swine Fever

Swine fever is an epizootic disease that is highly contagious (although not for humans) and often lethal to pigs. The malady is so infectious that countries whose farm stock carries the disease are often limited in their export options. In the case of Belgium, the European Commission put regulated zone boundaries around the country, and China enacted an import ban on the country’s pork.

These limitations were a burden for the country that exports more than two-thirds of its pork and is one of Europe’s key producers of the commodity. However, this new status enables the country to regain its status on its home continent as well as ask China to lift its ban on Belgian pork.

While this new all-clear designation is surely a cause for celebration, neighboring Germany is contending with new cases of the disease that have crossed its borders from Poland. In September, ASF was detected in Eastern Germany and has quickly spread through the eastern regions of the country. A report from the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) showed that between Sept. 10 and Dec. 4, there were 254 positive cases of ASF in the wild boar population.

While the German government has worked to contain the infection zone, European authorities will need to continue being vigilant to avoid further spread of the disease that could threaten Belgium’s newly-acquired status.

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