January 22, 2020 / 1:33 PM / a month ago

Germany says swine fever case found just 12 km from its border

HAMBURG (Reuters) - A case of the pig disease African swine fever (ASF) has been discovered in a wild boar in Poland just 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) from the German border, Germany’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.

Germany is intensifying discussions with the Polish government about creating a “white zone” which is fenced off to stop wild boars with the disease wondering into Germany, Germany’s agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Poland recorded some 55 outbreaks of ASF in wild boars in December, with a series of cases close to the border with Germany, one of Europe’s major pork exporters.

ASF is harmless to humans but often deadly in pigs. It originated in Africa before spreading to Europe and Asia and has already killed hundreds of million pigs, while reshaping global meat and feed markets.

Asian countries including China regularly impose import bans on pork from regions where it has been discovered, causing huge loss of business for meat exporters. Wild boars are spreading ASF and there are fears infected animals could bring the disease into Germany, threatening Germany’s huge pork exports to China.

Germany’s agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner and Polish agriculture minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski earlier this week agreed to intensify measures to jointly contain the ASF outbreak in Poland and prevent it spreading to Germany.

The latest case in Poland was discovered about 12 kilometers from Germany’s eastern state of Saxony, the ministry statement said.

The two countries will discuss whether Germany’s civil defense force should help setting up fencing on the Polish side of the border, the German ministry said on Tuesday.

Some German regional state governments have already started building fences along the Polish border in an attempt to stop infected wild boar roaming into Germany.

Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Louise Heavens

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