Germany on alert for swine fever

Wednesday, 21 January, 1998

By Jonathan Riley

VETS across Germany remain on alert after control measures failed to contain fresh outbreaks.

German Government officials claim the swine fever will die out by the weekend. But testing for the disease continues.

German ministry spokesman, Ludge Schulze-Pals, said the initial outbreak affected a 62,000-pig breeder unit supplying 25 farms in Western Pommerania near the Polish border.

“Swift action was taken and the unit was closed within minutes of the disease being confirmed,” he said.

But although more than 80,000 pigs were slaughtered, at least one lorry-load of infected livestock passed out of the cordon area.

Herr Schulze-Pals said the lorry-load of pigs was transported 250 miles to Lower Saxony – the countrys main pig producing area.

“This has already resulted in a second swine fever outbreak and many thousands of pigs will have to be slaughtered,” he said.

MAFF virologist, David Paton, said the swine fever appears similar to a strain of the disease carried by Germanys native wild boar population.

“It is likely that the commercial pigs were infected by the wild boar which act as a reservoir for the disease which then passes to and fro between the two populations,” he said.

Mr Paton said the German swine fever was probably a fresh outbreak and unrelated to recent cases in Holland and Spain.

Chris Kilner from MAFFs notifiable disease department said all necessary controls and checking procedures were in place at UK ports, ensuring all sources of infection were kept out of the country.

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