Info Point: African Swine Fever
What is African swine fever?
African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar and American wild pigs. All age groups are equally susceptible. With high virulence forms of the virus, ASF is characterized by high fever, loss of appetite, haemorrhages in the skin and internal organs, and death in 2-10 days on average. Mortality rates may be as high as 100%.
Situation update in Europe
Initially reported in the following EU Member States: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, it was reported in Bulgaria during the summer and more recently was reported in a small number of wild boar in Belgium.
Is ASF a public health concern?
ASF is not a human health threat.
How is ASF spread?
The disease can be spread directly through contact. It can also be spread indirectly through feeding infected pig meat and /or pork products, species of soft tick in some regions and possibly blood sucking flies or insects and through contaminated objects such as vehicles, clothes, equipment etc.
Can it be prevented or treated?
There is currently no treatment or vaccine available and therefore biosecurity measures are essential to prevent an outbreak from spreading.
Prevention in countries free of the disease depends on stringent import policies, ensuring that neither infected live pigs nor pork products are introduced into areas free of ASF. This includes ensuring proper disposal of waste food from aircraft, ships or vehicles coming from infected countries.
All successful eradication programs have involved the rapid diagnosis, slaughter and disposal of all animals on infected premises, thorough cleaning and disinfection, disinsectisation, movement controls and surveillance.
- European Commission: Current situation and control measures
- EFSA: How to stay one step ahead of ASF
- OIE: African Swine Fever overview
Research institutes working on ASF vaccinology:
- Center for Animal Health Research (CISA) & Spanish National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA): EU reference laboratory for ASF
- The Pirbright Institute: African Swine Fever Research