Germany finds more African swine fever in wild boar, cases reach 480

HAMBURG, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The number of African swine fever (ASF) cases found in wild boar in Germany has now reached 480, Germany’s agriculture ministry said on Friday, continuing an outbreak of the disease among wild animals which halted German pork exports to Asia.

The cases have occurred since the first outbreak in September 2020 and were in eastern state of Brandenburg and Saxony around the areas of previous discoveries, the ministry said. But a new case in a wild boar is suspected in the Potsdam region near Berlin, the ministry added. No farm pigs affected.

China, South Korea and Japan all banned German pork imports in September 2020 after ASF was found. The disease is not dangerous to humans but is fatal to pigs.

Pork buyers often impose import bans on countries where it has been found, even in wild animals.

German agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner appealed to farmers to prevent their pigs having contact with wild boar and to ensure wild boar cannot reach food for farm pigs.

Fences along the Germany/Polish border aimed at preventing wild boar with ASF entering Germany have also been vandalised, Kloeckner said.

The agriculture ministry said it is continuing intensive talks with China about relaxing import bans on German pork.

Germany is asking China for a regionalisation agreement on pork imports, the ministry said. This involves stopping pork imports only from the region of a country where ASF has been found and not a blanket ban on sales from the whole country. (Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Louise Heavens)

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