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It is conceivable that similar scenarios take place in field situations in wild boar populations or in domestic pig herds. From Latvia, Lamberga et al.

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Within the first weeks of infection, the ASF related mortality did not exceed the usual farm mortality and it took more than one month until ASF was suspected. Similar observations of slow virus spread within affected pig farms have been made in Estonia [ 51 , 53 ]. Given all this tenacity data, it is easy to understand why and how virus contaminated meat and meat products have played a crucial role in the transmission and epidemiology throughout the history of ASF. It explains how the virus can travel from one country to the other or from one continent to the next.

Particularly pigs in backyard systems where swill feeding is still common practice, are under major risk to become infected via this route. All virus escapes from Africa to other continents have been linked with transport of contaminated pork with airplanes or ships e. Furthermore, the virus also survives the process of putrefaction [ 4 , 6 ]. It has been shown that ASFV genomic material can be detected with PCR as long as tissue samples can be obtained from carcasses left in the field [ 61 ].

However, as PCR and not virus detection was used, no conclusions on the survival of the virus or its infectivity can be drawn from that study. The ability to remain infective after putrefaction is of particular importance for wild boar carcasses that remain in the environment until total decomposition. Probst et al. The direct contact with wild boar carcasses consisted mostly in sniffing and poking on the carcass, scavenging was not observed.

It was concluded that all these types of contact still represent a risk for infection [ 26 ]. In this regard, the low contagiousity of ASFV is contrasted by the high tenacity. Contaminated wild boar carcasses might facilitate virus persistence for months or even years within a region, significantly influencing the course of an ASF epidemic. Even if the probability of infection for each contact is low, the long infectious period will allow the virus circulation to be maintained. Further complicating this process, in the study by Probst et al. During the process of carcass decomposition, potentially ASFV-containing carcass material penetrates the soil underneath and in the vicinity of the carcass.

Soil samples taken from places, where ASF positive carcasses had been found, were PCR-positive several days or weeks after the carcass had been removed, although, no viable virus could be isolated unpublished data, Arvo Viltrop. It should be noted that these experiments were based on parenteral inoculation of the test materials which requires much lower virus dose for infection than the oral route, which is more likely to occur in nature.

As for direct contact, the probability that wild boars acquire the infection via soil will mainly depend on the susceptibility of the animals and the type, frequency, and intensity of contacts. Due to the short phase of clinical signs and associated virus excretion; wild boar behavior, ecology and population density; and the tenacity of ASFV in carcasses, the spread of ASFV through carcasses is considered to be more important than direct contact with live infectious animals for wild boar [ 18 , 62 ].

Good farm biosecurity is considered to be the most important tool for preventing ASF introduction on a holding [ 63 ]. Many ASF field studies report on biosecurity shortcomings, and mention this inadequacy as a critical factor for virus introduction via links to infected wild boar and swill feeding [ 50 , 64 ]. Roughly, farm biosecurity can be split into two components; i biosecurity hardware, envisaging the quality of buildings, fences, equipment, roads, gates, etc.

For example, a pig farm with excellent biosecurity hardware proper buildings, fences, hygiene barriers, personal equipment for visitors can still become ASF-infected if people do not follow the stipulated procedures, and vice versa. The backyard pig sector represents a huge challenge in this regard, in particular due to its heterogeneity, and special efforts should be made to improve implementation of biosecurity and raising awareness to promote early detection of ASF.

Nevertheless, in Estonia the larger herds had significantly higher risk of experiencing an ASF outbreak compared to smallholders [ 65 ]. This could be the result of somewhat specific situation in Estonia, where swill feeding and animal movements, otherwise tending to be the main risk factors for back yard holdings, did not play any significant role in spread of the infection.

In a situation where environmental contamination is suspected to be the major cause of disease introduction via contaminated vehicles and people, the frequency and intensity of contacts between surrounding environment and the farm premises are likely more important, and large farms become more vulnerable. Incursion of ASF into the domestic pig population is often of anthropogenic nature, happening as spillover from affected wild boar populations in the immediate farm neighborhood, or through the unintentional introduction of contaminated material onto the farm premises [ 65 ]. Having said that, seasonal peaks of cases in wild boar occur bi-annually around June—July and November—December, and for outbreaks in domestic pigs annually from June to August see Figs.

Seasonal variations in wild boar demography and ecology, farming and recreational activities in farm land and forests, temperatures and other climate factors, as well as in the activity and abundance of potential mechanical vectors have been brought forward as explanations for this pattern, which until now remains unexplained [ 65 , 66 , 67 ]. Number of notifications of cases in wild boar and outbreaks in domestic pigs in the European Union and Ukraine, excluding data from Romania from 1st January until 25th September Data extracted from the Animal Disease Notification System.

INTRODUCTION

Blue bars are cases in wild boar and red bars are outbreaks in domestic pigs. Number of notifications of cases in wild boar and outbreaks in domestic pigs in the European Union and Ukraine, excluding data from Romania from 1st January until 25th September , aggregated per month. The vast majority of outbreaks that have been reported from the Baltic states and Poland have been classified as primary outbreaks with only very few secondary outbreaks [ 20 ].

Due to the absence of vaccines and drugs for prophylactic measures and treatment, implementing biosecurity measures at farm level remain the key component of ASF prevention and control [ 63 ]. As pig production systems are heterogeneous not only in size and degree of specialization, but also regarding the level of professionalization of the farm staff, realistic options for implementing biosecurity measures are diverse [ 68 , 69 ].

However, observational data [ 70 ] as well as modelling approaches [ 71 , 72 ] show that, despite this diversity, the implementation of basic biosecurity measures has substantial influence in reducing the persistence and spread of ASF in domestic pig production systems. Despite this, ASF continuous to occur in areas where the disease is known to all stakeholders.

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To understand this paradox, we need to look at biosecurity not only from the angle of hardware biosecurity, meaning infrastructure and identified procedures, but also from the software biosecurity perspective. Acknowledging a mindset or philosophy component as part of the definition of biosecurity allows enforcing authorities to better comprehend the importance of promoting measures that match farming realities of a diversified group of production systems.

Putting regulations in place that request farms to implement biosecurity according to their level of production e. However, in particular in backyard production systems where risky production practices such as swill feeding remain, the software component appears to require additional efforts to become a sustainable component of ASF prevention.


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This has happened despite hunting. Hunting management might even have contributed to these trends through sustaining winter-feeding, avoidance of shooting adult females, and hunting bags well below the natural recruitment rate of the species [ 75 ]. Currently thousands of infected wild boar are found dead or are hunted each year in the more than Recent experiences show that carcass detection is the most important tool to detect geographical spread in wild boar, and that carcass removal including sampling and safe destruction seem essential to reduce transmission in infected areas [ 67 ].

Due to the characteristics of the virus, there is a risk of local ASF-persistence through carcasses and offal, as well as for indirect transmission through contaminated tools and cars used during hunting [ 21 ]. Therefore, a model for management of infected areas including core and buffer areas with no hunting and continuous carcass removal surrounded by an area with intensive, restricted hunting, has now been proposed [ 75 ]. In this model, hunting in the surrounding areas is permitted only for hunters trained on sampling and biosecurity measures.

Some examples of measures to improve biosecurity during hunting are using leak proof vessels e. Individual identification of hunted wild boar before storing and testing, keeping hunted wild boar in the area until tested negative for ASF, veterinary supervised disposal of all stored carcasses and cleaning and disinfection of the dressing area in case of a positive test outcome are other measures necessary for biosafe hunting in infected areas [ 75 ]. The qualities of the three epidemiological traits contagiousity, tenacity, and case fatality rate make ASFV efficient in both persistence and transmission.

The high tenacity ensures long term persistence in the environment, high case fatality rate makes the virus largely available, and the relatively low contagiousity prevents the complete depletion of the host population. The interaction of these three parameters maximize both local persistence and geographical spread of the virus making its eradication a challenge.

The disease does not show a typical epidemic pattern with either self-limiting localized epidemics or wider spread through an epidemic wave [ 76 ]. Both these patterns would probably require higher contagiousity. The patterns usually observed in endemic settings, with a constant circulation or presence of pathogens in the target population [ 76 ], is also not observed.

With a high case fatality rate and the probable absence of a long-lasting carrier status, ASFV cannot be maintained independently in an active circulation over a longer time despite the high reproductive capacity of wild boar. This leaves us the epidemiological scenario of a reservoir-facilitated perpetuation leading to an endemic state. With the absence of the reservoir hosts, African wild suids or O rnithodoros spp.

Thus it becomes crucial to include social science when planning prevention-, control-, or eradication measures. By considering only the biological particularities of the disease, contagiousity, tenacity and case fatality rate, but ignoring the human aspects, the epidemic will not be controlled. African swine fever virus eradication in Africa. Virus Res. Characterization of African swine fever virus Caucasus isolate in European wild boars.

Emerg Infect Dis. An update on the epidemiology and pathology of African swine fever. J Comp Pathol. Scientific opinion on African swine fever.

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EFSA J. Available online: www. European Food Safety Authority.


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Evaluation of possible mitigation measures to prevent introduction and spread of African swine fever virus through wild boar. Penrith ML, Vosloo W. Review of African swine fever: transmission, spread and control. J S Afr Vet Assoc.

Scientific opinion on the role of tick vectors in the epidemiology of Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever and African swine fever in Eurasia. Course and transmission characteristics of oral low-dose infection of domestic pigs and European wild boar with a Caucasian African swine fever virus isolate. Arch Virol. Pathogenesis of African swine fever in domestic pigs and European wild boar. High virulence of African swine fever virus caucasus isolate in European wild boars of all ages.

Dynamics of African swine fever virus shedding and excretion in domestic pigs infected by intramuscular inoculation and contact transmission. Vet Res. Comparative analysis of clinical and biological characteristics of African swine fever virus isolates from year Russian Federation. Br Microbiol Res J. African swine fever virus isolate, Georgia, African swine fever in the North Caucasus region and the Russian Federation in years African swine fever ASF : five years around Europe.

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Vet Microbiol. In terms of whether we see Georgia as a partner, absolutely. In practical terms, Georgia has a large contribution and a large commitment to Afghanistan. That is something which is greatly appreciated by the UK and by a lot of other partners. We have enormous gratitude and sympathy for the sacrifice that is being made by Georgia — the loss of nine soldiers in Afghanistan. We, unfortunately, have lost some three-hundred-and-eighty troops.

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