African Swine Fever was in the spotlight at the recently held European Symposium for Porcine Health Management (ESPHM). As this May’s event took place in the Netherlands, the situation in Belgium received plenty of attention. Pig Progress editor Vincent ter Beek noticed once more that the human factor is arguably the most essential factor determining failure or success.
在最近举行的欧洲猪健康管理研讨会(ESPHM)上，非洲猪瘟成为人们关注的焦点。该会议于5月份在荷兰举办，比利时的局势也受到了广泛关注。《Pig Progress》编辑Vincent ter Beek再次注意到，人类因素可以说是决定成败的最重要因素。
The pig world is on fire with African Swine Fever affecting many countries in Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia. Especially in countries where biosecurity or information levels are relatively low, the virus manages to travel fast and ravage domestic swine herds. Nevertheless, quite a lot of attention was paid to Belgium – a country where African Swine Fever (ASF) virus has been occurring in the wild boar population only since September 2018.
Role of the human factor in spread of ASF
It’s often the human factor that can make or break ASF in a country. In mid-June, the virus took 821 victims in Belgium’s wild boar population, according to figures supplied by the World Organization for Animal Health. In recent weeks only a few contaminated carcasses are found every week. In addition, so far, Belgium has managed to keep the virus out of its domestic pig population. All in all, Belgium’s approach appears to be moderately successful so far.
对一个国家而言，抗击非瘟的成败往往取决于人。世界动物卫生组织(World Organization for Animal Health)提供的数据显示，今年6月中旬，比利时有821头野猪因感染非瘟而死。最近几周，每周只发现几头感染病猪的尸体。此外，到目前为止，比利时已经成功让家猪免于非瘟病毒影响。总而言之，比利时的做法目前似乎取得了一定的成功。
At the ESPHM, held in Utrecht, the Netherlands, 22-24 May 2019, Dr Philippe Houdart of the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) gave some detailed insights into the situation in Belgium’s southern province Luxembourg. He explained that it requires coordination to take a proper ASF approach on various authority levels. In Belgium, responsibility for wild boar management lies at regional level, whereas the federal FASFC is responsible for health issues in pigs. On top of that, a network between all stakeholders needed to be made.
在2019年5月22-24日于荷兰乌得勒支举行的ESPHM会议上，比利时联邦食品链安全机构(FASFC)的菲利普·胡达特博士（Dr Philippe Houdart）就比利时南部省份卢森堡的情况给出了一些详细的见解。他解释说，不同级别的权力机构采取适当的抗击非瘟方法需要进行协调。在比利时，野猪管理的责任在地区层面，而联邦FASFC负责猪的健康问题。最重要的是，需要在所有利益相关者之间建立一个网络。
How did the virus get into Belgium?
Dr Houdart discussed various options as to how the virus might have got into Belgium – all of them related to human (mis)behaviour, like virus on left-overs or equipment, through a military facility, through the introduction of infected wild boar and, interestingly, he also mentioned intentional introduction.
Road signs in the Netherlands appeal to drivers of cars and trucks to pay attention to the risk of ASF – and not dispose of any garbage into the environment. Photo: Twan Wiermans
He discussed that over 5,000 blood samples of domestic pigs from about 1,000 holdings had been analyzed. No outbreak so far has been confirmed in domestic pigs in Belgium – hence Belgium does have the status ‘Free from ASF’ in domestic pigs, meaning that there are no (trade) restrictions for the rest of the country.
What to do to get ASF virus out?
Dr Houdart also touched on the containment strategy – for the short term that comes down to preventing the virus from spreading further, e.g. by zoning, preventive measures, fencing, risk adapted hunting tactics and collection of dead wild boar. On the longer term, that means eradication of the disease as well as eradication of wild boar in the affected area and a significant reduction of wild boar elsewhere. The authorities started that process in early June. This process, Dr Houdart explained, is necessary to reduce the potential of new hosts for the ASF virus.
Dr Houdart then discussed what measures were taken to make sure ASF would continue to stay away from domestic pigs, like e.g. a mandatory 1-on-1 movement of pigs (so no picking up of other animals on the road) and enhanced passive surveillance.
Dr Philippe Houdart at the ESPHM in Utrecht in May. Photo: Vincent ter Beek
今年5月，胡达特博士（Dr Houdart）乌得勒支ESPHM上发言。图：Vincent ter Beek
Many of these measures look like those taken in the Czech Republic, where also an isolated wild boar herd was found infected in 2017. The country managed to restrict the outbreaks to 223 wild boar and no domestic pigs were infected. In April this year, the Czech Republic was announced to be free from ASF again.
作者：Vincent ter Beek