BELGIUM, Brussels. On 18 May, the European Commission ratified Belgium’s proposal to reduce the ASF-infected zone in the province of Luxemburg. This zone, in which African Swine Fever was detected only in wild boar, was successfully installed by Belgian authorities to prevent the contamination of domestic pigs.
Immediately after the detection of African Swine Fever in two wild boards, on 13 September 2018, the FASFC (Belgium’s Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain), demarcated an “infected zone” and a “buffer zone”, in consultation with the European Commission and ministers. The few domestic pigs in the initial infection zone were preventively eradicated between 27 September and 3 October 2018. The products of these pigs did not enter the food chain and were not used in the feed industry.
Within the infected zone, a series of control measures were quickly put in place:
• carcass removal,
• a complete feeding ban,
• specific hunting regulations and depopulation actions depending on the zone,
• leading to almost no wild boar left within zone II,
• a partial ban of people and logging, and
• more than 300 km of concentric placed fences.
Outside the zones and in the domestic herd, an active surveillance has been maintained. The measures have proven effective to keep ASF inside the affected zone. The last ASF-positive test on a fresh carcass of a dead boar, found within the zone, goes back to 11 August 2019. On 6 occasions after that date, ASF was found on the remains (bones) of wild boar that died several months before their discovery.
Belgium therefore proposed to reduce the demarcated zone. This proposal now is ratified by the European Commission. The reduction (shaded) concerns a part of the “buffer zone” (zone I), a zone in which no infected animals have been detected: the last ASF-positive boar in this part was detected on 17 February 2019. The zone in which infected boar were detected (zone II), remains unchanged. In the newly reduced zone, there still is a general slaughtering ban.