African swine fever
African swine fever
African swine fever, or ASF for short, is a severe, highly contagious animal disease. Transmission of the highly resistant virus is possible via direct contact between infected and healthy pigs - especially via blood contact. Furthermore, the disease can be transmitted via contaminated feed, contaminated objects (vehicles, farm equipment, clothing, hunting equipment, etc.) or food.
For the Waldeck-Frankenberg district, the greatest risk of introduction comes from pork, sausage or hunting trophies brought in by people from the infection areas. The high volume of trucks from Eastern European countries - which supply the large logistics centers of internationally active companies in the district - poses a high risk of introduction. An outbreak of the disease would have severe economic consequences in addition to the serious impact on the animals.
The Waldeck-Frankenberg district has been preparing for this for a long time - through educational work, early detection and appropriate prevention measures. As part of the educational efforts, multilingual posters have been posted for many years, especially on federal highways and well-known rest areas for truck drivers, pointing out the risk of introducing the disease through improperly disposed of food. In addition, the county regularly provides information on the disposal of organic waste, possible transmission routes, risk of infection through hunting trips and preventive biosecurity measures. The latter are also increasingly checked at pig farmers in Waldeck-Frankenberg.
A crisis team was formed to regularly exchange information on the topic, as well as a working group on "ASP prevention" - with representatives of the hunting associations, the farmers' associations, the forestry offices and the National Park Authority, who regularly inform their members about the current status of the topic as multipliers. Three years ago, the district also purchased a foam disinfection sluice that can be used to clean contaminated vehicles in the event of an emergency.
With the help of the hunters in Waldeck-Frankenberg, the wild boar population in the district is also being controlled in order to reduce the possibilities of contact with sources of infection. Since wild boar carcasses pose the greatest risk of infection, the district has continued to develop a concept for the recovery of dead animals. In addition, samples of wild boar are taken regularly - also with the support of the hunting community - for early detection of a possible outbreak: Both from the animals shot by the hunters themselves and from the fallen game, i.e. wild boar that have been found accidentally or dead or shot while sick. The fallen game is particularly important for the early detection of the disease, as it represents a dangerous source of infection for healthy animals in the event of an outbreak. Therefore, in the event of an actual outbreak of the disease in Waldeck-Frankenberg, the detection of this game is one of the most important control measures to contain the spread and efficiently eradicate the outbreak.