According to the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Agriculture, it was only a matter of time before African swine fever reached the southwest. Now a pig farm in the district of Emmendingen is affected.

African swine fever has broken out on a farm in Baden-Württemberg. This was announced by the Baden-Württemberg Minister of Agriculture Peter Hauk (CDU) in an online press conference in Stuttgart.

Within just five days, 16 of 35 domestic pigs died in agony in the Forchheim farm (Emmendingen district) by Wednesday. The Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI), which is responsible for animal diseases, confirmed the virus on Wednesday evening in two dead animals. According to Hauk, the other animals were killed on Wednesday morning. There is no danger to human health, pork can continue to be consumed.

The state hunting association warned the population. «Don’t throw away any leftovers, especially sausage and meat products, carelessly. The earlier infected pigs are found, the more likely it is that the disease will be contained and animal suffering avoided,” said state huntsman Jörg Friedmann.

According to Hauk, it is unclear how the virus got into the company. The cause is probably “human action”. «The pigs were kept in the open air, doubly secured by the double fence. The fence was also buried in the ground, so it was safe that the wild boar couldn’t get in,” said Hauk. A protection zone with a minimum radius of three kilometers and an adjoining surveillance zone with an outer radius of ten kilometers will be set up around the affected facility in Forchheim. The surveillance zone extends over the districts of Emmendingen, Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald and the Ortenau district.

“No pig out, no pig in”

According to Hauk, the transport of pigs, sperm, egg cells and embryos of pigs is prohibited in the exclusion zone. Slurry, manure and bedding from pigs must also not come out of the farms. First of all: “No pig out, no pig in,” said Hauk. Exceptions are only possible under strict conditions. Since the disease broke out in domestic pigs, plant products such as feed, straw or other agricultural products such as beef, fruit and vegetables are not affected by the restrictions.

According to Hauk, there is currently no evidence that the pathogen has infected wild boar. “In order to be able to really rule this out, however, wild boars in the area must be examined for African swine fever in the coming weeks.” Fallen game is also examined. From Friday, teams of two will be out with a dog to look out for carcasses. “The search teams are flanked outside of forest areas by drone teams with thermal imaging cameras,” said Hauk. So far, these search teams have only been trained in Baden-Württemberg and have already been deployed in other areas of Germany affected by African swine fever.

African swine fever (ASF) is a severe viral infection that only affects wild boar and domestic pigs. It is almost always fatal and incurable. The disease is harmless to humans or other animal species. First it had spread in Eastern Europe. On September 10, 2020, a first case of ASF was confirmed in a wild boar in Germany. Since then, ASF cases have occurred in Brandenburg (wild and domestic pigs) and in Saxony (wild pigs) and in 2021 also in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (wild and domestic pigs).