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New case of African swine fever reported near Germany
A few days ago, Polish authorities reported a case of African swine fever in a place about 80 kilometers from the German border. Although the pathogens have not yet made it to Germany, experts believe that there is still a risk of epidemics. Does swine fever also pose a danger to people?
African swine fever (ASP) is a viral infection that is native to Africa, but has also occurred in various EU countries since 2014. The highly contagious disease is often fatal to pigs. No disease has been reported in Germany, but a case near the border has now been reported.
Increased vigilance is required
According to a message from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the Polish veterinary service informed the BMEL that on 14 November 2019 a wild boar had been found dead in the Lubusz Voivodeship, in the district of Wschowski - about 80 kilometers from the Brandenburg border - African swine fever has been identified.
As reported by the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), a concerted carcass attempt was carried out after the virus detection in a wild boar killed by a traffic accident, in which further carcasses were found.
According to the information, the Polish reference laboratory is currently working on diagnostics. "Due to the geographical proximity to the German border, increased vigilance is required," writes the FLI.
The BMEL points out that there has been no case of African swine fever in this country so far, but that the plague has also been a threat to Germany for several years.
Observe hygiene measures
As the BMEL explains, the virus is transmitted directly via animal contacts or indirectly, for example via meat or sausage from infected animals. Under unfavorable conditions, carelessly disposed remnants of travel supplies containing viruses could be sufficient to introduce the disease. Such leftovers should therefore be avoided or disposed of so that they are not accessible to wild boar.
For domestic and wild boars, there has been a ban on feeding kitchen and food waste for decades. Because the pathogen remains infectious for an extremely long time, it can also be spread further by objects such as tools, footwear or clothing, as well as transport vehicles.
For this reason, travelers - including hunting travelers - and carriers should be particularly careful and responsible and observe hygiene regulations.
No health risk for people
The ASP is not a health hazard for humans: "The pathogen of the ASP is not transferable to humans," says Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, President of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in an older press release.
"Neither direct contact with sick animals nor the consumption of food that comes from infected domestic or wild boar poses a health risk."
But even if the pathogen is neither a danger nor a risk for humans, domestic and wild boar meat, like any other raw meat, should always be prepared hygienically, since it can also contain other pathogens, explains the BfR.
According to experts, it should be kept refrigerated and prepared separately from other foods before cooking. When heated, a temperature of 70 degrees or higher should be reached inside the piece of meat for at least two minutes. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.