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Swine fever virus is detectable in the air

The course of a classic swine fever outbreak is determined for a great extent by the virus strain with which the pigs are infected. That is the conclusion that Eefke Weesendorp recently presented in her doctoral thesis at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Weesendorp has definitively proven that the virus can occur in the air and can therefore be transmitted through an airborne vector. Weesendorp's discoveries may lead to better methods for treating outbreaks of the disease in the future.
Previous studies have shown that classic swine fever can be transmitted through the air, but until now no one has been able to detect the virus in the air. Weesendorp has finally done just that. In her thesis, she provides evidence that the virus can survive in the air in barns housing infected pigs. Pigs in nearby stalls therefore run a risk of infection as well.
Her thesis also shows that the more aggressive the classic swine fever virus strain is, the more viruses can be transmitted by the infected pigs. This in turn influences the spread of the virus. A remarkable situation can occur in animals that are infected with a less aggressive strain and develop a chronic infection. These animals can excrete large amounts of the virus over a long period, and therefore play a major role in the spread of the virus.
Eefke Weesendorp has developed a risk model that in the future may provide more insight into the effects of the various virus strains in the spread of the disease. By expanding this model further, researchers will be able to test the effects of specific measures on the spread of the disease.

[Source: Utrecht University]


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