The Department of Agriculture has urged pig farmers to step up their bio-security measures following the confirmation of a case of African Swine Fever in Germany.

It is the first confirmed case of the virus in Germany.

The case was confirmed by the Agriculture ministry there yesterday. The virus was detected in a wild boar close to the Polish border in the Spree-Neisse area.

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture said it is reinforcing the need for extreme vigilance on the part of all pig owners to ensure that robust biosecurity measures are implemented on their farms.

Pig farmers have been told they should prevent pigs from accessing food waste and to ensure that pigs do not come into contact with contaminated clothing, vehicles, footwear or equipment originating in ASF affected areas of the world.

Travellers returning to Ireland from abroad have also been advised to avoid bringing back any pork or pork products from areas affected with ASF.

The Department has confirmed that there has been no importation of live pigs from Germany into Ireland this year to-date. 

The virus was first detected in Poland in 2014 and has been spreading in the wild boar population in the western part of the country since November of last year.

EU legislation controls the movement of pigs and pig products from areas affected by ASF in Poland.

Wild boar have played a major role in the spread of the disease in mainland Europe.

The virus is spread through the animal's natural movements and can also be spread when it is passed to live pigs, through contaminated clothing or vehicles, and the consumption of infected food waste by pigs.