Situation in Belgium
Identification of African swine fever (ASF) in wild boars in Belgium
For more detailed information please consult the document “African swine fever” virus in wild boar in Belgium (link).
OIE official attestation: self-declaration "free status of ASF for domestic and wild pigs kept in captivity"
Up until the 1st of September 2020, 5352 wild boar have been analyzed for ASF, among which 833 have been confirmed positive for African swine fever (ASF).
The last positive case confirmed on a fresh carcass dates from the 11th of August 2019.
The search for dead carcasses of wild boar has been intensified since the beginning of autumn 2019. The 6 cases identified after the 11th of August 2019 have all been confirmed on the remains (only bones) of wild boar that died several months before the discovery of the bones *:
- September 2019: 0 cases
- October 2019: 1 case
- November 2019: 1 case
- December 2019: 1 case
- January 2020: 1 case
- February 2020: 1 case
- March 2020: 1 case
The following map details the situation on the field since the beginning of the outbreak and during the months of March and April 2020 :
Since September 2018, when the first cases of African swine fever were discovered in wild boar in the south of Belgium, the regulated zones I and II, that were put in place as one of the measures of ASF containment, have been adapted several times.
Following the discovery of the first ASF cases in wild boar, an initial infected zone was set. In November 2018, the European regulated zones were put in place: zone I (buffer zone) and zone II (infected zone).
As it can be seen in the map hereunder, the zones concerned by the ASF outbreak occupy a small territory in the south of Belgium:
The maps hereunder show the evolution of these zones over the time, starting from September 2018 up until May 2020.
Since the 18th of May 2020, the regulated zones were adapted as shown on the map hereunder:
Several criteria were taken in account when the decision of reducing the zone II was made:
- Last positive case dates back to 17th of February 2019
- The efforts of passive and active surveillance have been maintained, and all will boar found dead or culled tested negative for ASF
- No domestic pigs remain in this area of Part II, as all holdings have been emptied in September 2018 and are not allowed to restock.
* Found bones were completely dry and emaciated. The age of the bones (and consequently the date of death of the boars) was evaluated by analyzing the presence of remnant DNA (cf. article J. Samsuwan,T. Somboonchokepisal, T. Akaraputtiporn,T. Srimuang, P. Phuengsukdaeng, A.Suwannarat, A. Mutirangura, N. Kitkumthorn – “A method for extracting DNA from hard tissues for use in forensic identification”, Biomed Rep. 2018 Nov; 9(5): 433–438).
There are no outbreaks in domestic swine.
No domestic and captive swine remain in the initial infected zone (decision of the Federal minister of Agriculture to eradicate all domestic swine by 2 October 2018).
Strict measures have been taken for the whole country to prevent contamination of domestic swine.
Based on European legislation and following consultation with the federal authorities and regional Walloon authorities, the initial "infected zone" has been replaced on the 27th of November 2018 by two separate zones: "Zone I" and "Zone II". This formal decision is imposed by European legislation in the context of zoning and protection measures against ASF, according to the identified risk. (see map below).
Important to know
African swine fever is limited to wild boars in a small area of the southern part of Belgium, there are no outbreaks in domestic swine, and the necessary and preventive measures are taken to control and avoid dissemination of the disease.
All domestic swine in the initial infected zone has been eradicated under the supervision of the FASFC and the repopulation of farms in this zone is forbidden. No products of these eradicated swine entered or will enter the food chain or will be used in the feed industry.
Notwithstanding, the certification conditions laid down in the relevant protocols concluded between Belgium and the non-EU countries (third countries) will be scrupulously respected.
Taking into account the definitions included in Chapter 15.1.3 of the OIE Terrestrial Code, Belgium lost its disease-free status for African swine fever in all suids. Belgium currently still has a free status for domestic and wild pigs kept in captivity.
Measures are taken as provided in Article 15 of European Union Directive 2002/60/EC and supplementary national regulations. The detailed information about these measures can be found in the following document.
On the 13th of September 2018, African swine fever (ASF) virus was confirmed for the first time since 1985 in 2 wild boars in the municipality Etalle (province of Luxembourg). In this region very few domestic pigs are kept (most swine farms are located in the northern part of Belgium).
The Federal minister of Agriculture has decided to eradicate all domestic swine in the infected zone by 2 October 2018. It must be made very clear that his is merely a preventive eradication to prevent the contamination of domestic swine and to protect animal health and the commercial interests of the Belgian Pork industry. It is certain that products of these eradicated swine will not enter the food chain or be used for the feed industry. Compensation for the destroyed domestic swine of all affected farmers will be provided by the Sanitary Fund (Belgian) and European funds, reserved for animals disease outbreaks. Other economic compensation will be provided by the Walloon Region.
It should be emphasized that the potential risk lies in the spreading from wild boars to domestic and captive wild pigs, but that this risk is very limited since the necessary measures are taken.
Press releases and additional information are available on the website of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain :
Dr. Vet. Philippe Houdart
Head of the Crisis Prevention Department
Tel.: +32 (0) 2 211 82 81
Mobile number: +32 (0) 478 50 01 72
European and Belgian following the annexes of the Commission Implementing Decision 2014/709/EU: