African swine fever has been detected in Belgium. The disease has been spreading in Eastern Europe since it first entered the European Union in 2014.

"The identification of African swine fever now in Belgium, close to the French border, as well as its continued spread in eastern Europe, is an increasing cause of concern," Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.

In addition to the new cases in Belgium, the disease is already present in a number of EU member states including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and more recently Bulgaria.

ASF was also confirmed in China for the first time in August 2018.

There is no treatment for ASF in pigs and there is no vaccine available currently.

It does not affect humans and meat from pigs does not pose any food safety risk.

Pig farmers are advised to be aware of the clinical signs of ASF and to consult their vet or local Regional Veterinary Office if they have any concerns.

"It is vital that biosecurity measures are reviewed, that unauthorised persons do not have access to pigs at any time, that food waste is not fed to pigs and that all workers on pig farms are fully aware of the necessary biosecurity measures," Creed said.

Members of the public are being asked not to bring meat or meat products from affected countries into Ireland and that anyone visiting a farm in affected countries to take particular biosecurity measures before entering on to Irish farms.

Visit the DAFM website here for more information.

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