Health officials recorded an outbreak of the disease in a pig herd in the northern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture confirmed ASF, which is harmless to humans, was found after samples were tested at the pig fattening unit on Monday. The ministry added it is the first time traces of ASF, a fatal viral infection in pigs and wild boars, has been found in the region.

The source of the outbreak is not yet known and all animals have been removed from the farm.

German pig farming organisation ISN said: “Unfortunately, the fear has been confirmed that at least one selective spread of ASF in Germany cannot be prevented.

“Now it is important that the causes for the entry into the fattening farm are determined and that the control strategies that have already been started take effect on site.

“In contrast to the ASF cases in the wild boars, the virus occurrence in the fattening pigs can be precisely narrowed down and controlled in a targeted manner.”

Previous cases of the disease were found at three farms in eastern Germany in July.

Over 2,000 wild boars became infected and were culled at farms across Brandenburg and Saxony.

ASF is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa and reached eastern parts of Europe in 2007, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

According to the EFSA, the first case of the disease was confirmed on September 10, 2020, in a wild boar in the rural district of Spree-Neiße, which is located in Brandenburg.

The outbreak caused huge economic problems for farmers across Germany.

China and other major nations banned imports of German pork following the case.

Pigs and wild boars infected with ASF tend to develop typical flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, vomiting and breathing difficulties.

Other more severe conditions include the inability to stand of all fours.

According to the EFSA, transmission of ASF can be caused through contact between free-ranging pigs and wild boars.

It can also spread in live-stock through the consumption of infected meat, with the most-severe cases resulting in pigs dying within 10 days.

The first case of the disease reached the European Union in 2014, when it was found in Latvia and Estonia, the EFSA said.

It added by the end of 2019, it had been present in nine EU member states, they were Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.