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18 March 2019

ASF in wild boar in Belgium, no outbreak in domestic pigs

Despite the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF), Belgium still has a free status for domestic and captive wild pigs. There are no outbreaks in domestic swine.

Few domestic pigs are kept in the region

the 13th of September 2018, the ASF virus was confirmed for the first time since 1985 in 2 wild boars in the municipality Etalle in the province of Luxembourg. This is the most southern province of Belgium. In this region very few domestic pigs are kept, because most swine farms are located in the northern paf Belgium.

Attestation for free status

From that day on, 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. Despite that, Belgium still has a free status for domestic and captive wild pigs. There are no outbreaks in domestic swine.

The attestation of the Chief Veterinary Officer of Belgium.

Decision to limit the risk

We are well aware that the potential risk lies in the spreading from wild boars to domestic and captive wild pigs. However, this risk is limited since the necessary measures are taken. On the 24th of September, the decision was taken to cull all domestic pigs within the zone, that covers 63,000 hectares. In this zone, only approx. 4,000 domestic pigs are bred.

Measures taken (in accordance with EU Directive)

Notwithstanding, the certification conditions laid down in the protocol concluded between the Kingdom of Belgium and the third countries will be scrupulously respected. In the infected zone, the following measures are taken (as provided in Article 15 of European Union Directive 2002/60/EC):

  • monitoring of wild boars in order to get a picture of the situation
  • limiting hunting to avoid dissemination
  • limiting human activities in forest
  • culling of all domestic pigs within the zone
  • complete separation of swines and wild boars
  • movements (to/from) of swines only with the authorization of the competent authority
  • increasing biosecurity
  • analysis of all sickness/death

Besides these measures, the Belgian Food Safety Agency started an epidemiological investigation to identify the cause of the ASF virus introduction.

All the official information about African Swine Fever can be found on the website of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain.

The following measures are also enforced throughout the country to reduce the risk of spreading:

  • Fence networks put in place:
    Since the onset of African Swine Fever infection in Belgium, in addition to the highway/big traffic axes which serve as physical barriers, different fence networks have been put in place mainly on the border of and within the Zone II (see Map).
  • Outside the zones:
    • Raising awareness of hunters and forest visitors.
    • Passive surveillance: Any discovery of a dead wild boar has to be immediately notified to the competent regional authorities, by stating through public hotlines the precise location and absolutely avoiding any contact.
    • Sampling and analysis of all found dead wild boars are performed.
  • In Flanders, ASF analysis on 40% of the shot wild boar.
    • Active surveillance and reduction of the wild boar population.
    • For domestic pigs:
      • Enhanced passive surveillance: no treatment of sick pigs without sampling for ASF
      • Laboratory testing. Every pig holder has to consult a veterinarian when detecting clinical problems. The veterinarian can only start a treatment when he delivers cadavers for autopsy or samples to the first line regional animal health laboratories for testing on ASF.


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