African swine fever

African swine fever

African swine fever is a highly contagious, viral disease of pigs caused by African swine fever virus (ASFV), a large complex DNA virus and the only member of family Asfarviridae, genus Asfivirus.  The virus can become endemic in feral or wild suids, and transmission cycles between these animals and Ornithodoros ticks can complicate or prevent eradication. Isolates of the virus vary in virulence from highly pathogenic strains that cause near 100% mortality to low–virulence isolates that are difficult to diagnose. There is currently no vaccine or treatment.

ASF has spread in domestic pig populations throughout most sub-Saharan African countries. Transcontinental spread first occurred to Europe (Spain and Portugal) in 1957 and 1960, and from there to other European countries, South America and the Caribbean. With the exception of Sardinia, the disease was eradicated from outside Africa in the mid-1990s. A second transcontinental spread to Georgia in the Caucasus began in 2007, with subsequent spread to neighbouring countries and further into Eastern Europe with the wild boar (Sus scrofa) involved in the spread. Currently, ASFV is present in the Trans-Caucasus, parts of the Russian Federation and neighbouring countries, including Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Moldova, as well as, Hungary, Czech Republic and Romania.

STAR-IDAZ IRC working with the Global African Swine Fever Research Alliance (GARA) aims to coordinate research, establish and sustain global research partnerships that will generate scientific knowledge and generate road maps for the prevention, control and where possible eradication of African Swine Fever. The current state of ASF research is covered in the Annual state-of-the art report on animal health research on IRC priorities.

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