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African swine fever – latest updates and important information

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Following a significant increase in the number of cases of ASF, a disease of pigs, in Eastern Europe, and recent western spread to Belgium, the risk of an introduction of this disease to the UK has increased and is causing concern. ASF has been spreading in Eastern Europe since it first entered the European Union (EU) in 2014 from countries further east. In addition to the new cases in Belgium the disease is already present in a number of EU Member States.

Although the disease does not affect humans and there is no food safety risk associated with meat, ASF is highly contagious and usually fatal viral disease of pigs. An outbreak of ASF would also have a devastating impact on the UK pork industry affecting pig health and welfare and the ability of the UK to trade pigs and pork products. If disease also got into feral pig populations it could also have an impact on their health and welfare, and Government would be obliged to put in place restrictions on hunting for a minimum period of at least two years.

Please refer to the attached leaflet which provide important information for hunters or land and estate owners on how they can help reduce the risk of ASF spreading to the UK.

Further biosecurity advice and the latest news on ASF can be found on the DEFRA, DEERA-NI, Scottish and Welsh Government websites.

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