The mayor of Beaulon is surprised, he has received no official information. But he has been aware of rumors for ten days concerning a health problem in his commune.
« It would be a park of about 30 hectares with oaks and coppices where are raised a hundred wild boars that the owner raises to resell them to large hunting estates », explains Alain Lognon.
The mayor continues: « The state will have to assume its responsibilities, the law provides for the slaughter of all infected farm animals because it is a very contagious disease ». Contagious certainly, but harmless to humans, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Three neighboring farms affected
In fact, a first case of Aujeszky’s disease was discovered at the start of the year in a wild boar farm in Chevagnes in the Allier during a prophylaxis operation. The owner of the park, Jean-Christophe De Monspey, confirms: « Every year we have the obligation to carry out checks. 40 wild boars from my farm have been tested, one of them, only one, has tested positive for this virus « .
Following this discovery, all of its livestock was slaughtered as provided for by French regulations and a period of 21 days of crawl space was observed after the disinfection of the site. Since then, farming has resumed.
Following this first discovery, the public authorities launched checks within a radius of 5 kilometers.
Aujeszky’s disease was thus detected in another wild boar park in Montbeugny, again leading to the slaughter of animals.
More recently, in March, 15 blood samples were taken from the wild boars of Gilberte Tascon and his son Franck in the neighboring commune of Beaulon, still north of Sologne. Two cases turned out to be positive, two young animals 6-7 months old, said the farmer whose herd should soon be slaughtered too. « I noticed it because they ate less and ran little », she explains. « It’s a bad economic deal, these are animals that we sell in hunting parks in the Marne ”, says Gilberte who also raises wild ducks. Like her neighbor Chevagnes, she says this is the first time that this animal virus has appeared on her farm, created some twenty years ago.
A virus not transmissible to humans
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, « Aujeszky’s disease is a highly contagious viral disease (virus of the family Herpesviridae) which affects domestic and wild swine (pigs and wild boars) and accidentally carnivores and ruminants ».
The ministry said that this virus is not transmissible to humans and that mainland France (excluding Corsica) is recognized free from the disease in pig farms, but recognizes that it circulates in wild boars.
Cases are rare. In 2019, two outbreaks were confirmed in two cured pig farms in the Alpes de Haute-Provence and Vaucluse.
When the presence of the virus is proven, the prefecture takes an « declaration of infection » order. An epidemiological investigation is conducted in neighboring farms within a radius of 5 kilometers.
There is a vaccine against Aujeszky’s disease for pigs, but vaccination is now banned in officially free territories, following recommendations from the World Organization for Animal Health.
In the Allier, this multiplication of cases particularly worries the hunting federation because the disease is contagious to dogs and often fatal. It also worries the many pig breeders in the department.