In the south of Berlin-Spandau, kilometer-long fences are now being built by the Technische Hilfswerk (THW) to make it more difficult to spread to Berlin. Troops from the authorities will search the forests and meadows for more carcasses in the coming days. All dogs must be kept on a leash urgently; the streets with the BVG lines should remain passable. On the kilometer-long banks of the Havel, however, grid fences are also being built – from the Havel dune down to the national border. Wild boars are talented swimmers.
“Unfortunately, we do not know how long it will take and how long you have to stand still,” said the city council of Berlin-Spandau, Stephan Machulik, SPD, at an on-site meeting in the forest. But the situation is serious.
African swine fever had so far mainly been detected in Brandenburg, but not in Berlin. That is why even Senator Dirk Behrendt, Greens, hurried out on Friday lunchtime to the popular swimming lakes on the distant outskirts of Berlin, where thousands of Berliners usually have fun in the summer.
This time it was no fun. This time it was about an animal carcass that was to have consequences for the city of Berlin for the first time. “Brandenburg has been struggling with the epidemic for months, and now it is affecting Berlin’s urban area for the first time,” said the Senator, although “Berlin is not a pork-producing country.” However, the disease is always fatal in pigs; and in Berlin alone there were 3,000 wild boars – and that is only an estimate.
The dead animal was found north of Glienicker See. There is not much to see except silence, fog, and wetness. There is the “small lake” between Berlin-Kladow and the so-called “villa district” in Groß Glienicke (Potsdam), a former barracks area in the forest into which many Berliners have moved in recent years. The lake is more of a weedy, wet clearing in the forest, tossed by the B2 federal road.
The news had been going around since that morning. A first test for African swine fever (ASF) was positive, but confirmation from the Friedrich Loeffler Institute for Animal Health is still pending.
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Should the suspicion be confirmed – the second test was expected in the afternoon – a so-called “core zone” will be established around the site: an area with a radius of four kilometers, including the Brandenburg area. The area may be considered rural, but there are 20,000 people living there in Berlin alone, which extends to the famous Rieselfeldern as far as Weinmeisterhöhe.
“We need about two days for one kilometer of fence,” said City Councilor Machulik at the meeting on Lake Sacrow. “Of course we do not erect fences by the water on private property,” as there are also fences through the property. His people now check whether there is still a dead animal somewhere.
The Senate takes on the coordination between Berlin, Brandenburg and the federal government; but the districts are responsible on site. It’s also a test run for them. I.The districts responsible for combating animal diseases have been preparing for swine fever since the beginning of 2019, but some districts have not been satisfied with the help from the Senate. The grids are stored in depots in the Reinickendorf district.
The farmers who have their farms and agricultural areas in Berlin-Gatow have to bring their pigs into the stables. However, there are no longer as many as there used to be in West Berlin: There are 18 animals and two farmers in the south of Spandau, said an employee of the senator.
African swine fever is harmless to humans. The ASF virus cannot be transmitted to humans – not even through the consumption of pork. However, humans play an important role in the spread of the epidemic, for example through incorrect disposal of food containing ASF virus or material on shoes and car tires containing ASF virus.
Did the disease get into the forest near Berlin? Probably. Because so far the epidemic had been detected mainly in the east of Berlin. There is the thesis that it was brought into the interior of the country by truck drivers.
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The virus can persist in raw and frozen meat for several months. In the worst cases, a sausage or ham roll that is carelessly disposed of in the parking lot can be enough to drag the disease on.
The first ASF outbreak in wild boars in Germany was officially recorded on September 10, 2020. The Ministry of Consumer Protection of the State of Brandenburg has reported 463 infected pigs since then. So far, the districts of Oder-Spree and Märkisch-Oderland have been particularly affected.
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Kilometers fences erected Berlin suspected case African swine fever outskirts Berlin