Belgium has confirmed an outbreak of African swine fever, marking a further spread of the disease that has hit farms in Eastern Europe and China and which could now threaten Western Europe’s large pig industry.

Belgium’s food safety agency on Thursday said that African swine fever (ASF) had been detected in the Etalle district near the French border, after the death of several wild boars raised suspicions that the virus was present.

This is the first reported case of the disease in Belgium since 1985.
Western European countries have been trying to avert the spread of the disease, which is highly contagious among pigs and difficult to eradicate, after a growing number of cases in Eastern Europe, including in European Union members such as Romania.
France reacted swiftly to the news of the wild boar cases in Belgium, with its agriculture ministry announcing reinforced surveillance in four administrative departments (counties) bordering Belgium, and extra measures to protect pig farms and slaughterhouses.
“This new outbreak represents the expansion of the disease, for the first time during the current pandemic, into Western Europe,” said Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center in the United States.
“This new outbreak may represent a new change in the epidemiologic situation of ASF worldwide, suggesting that the disease may have reached pandemic proportions.”

The EU is collectively the world’s second-largest pigmeat producer after China and the largest exporter, with most of its pork industry concentrated in Germany, Denmark, France and Spain.

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American pork is going to be very popular.