African Swine Fever (ASF) is slowly creeping towards western Europe, affecting mostly wild boar populations. It looks like the virus will not go away anytime soon. Which are the practical measure systems to minimise the risk of ASF entering a swine farm?
Where possible, depending on the pig production system, isolation of a farm can be obtained by maintaining adequate distances between farms, by full fencing the herd and installing a closed entrance to the farm area.
Vehicles collecting dead animals represent a major risk for the transmission of the disease. These vehicles should not enter the farm, and pig carcasses have to be collected outside the fence or premises. Drivers have to strictly follow farm biosecurity protocols and they should not enter the holding.
Carcasses of domestic pigs and wild boar found dead in the infected areas should be processed and tested to detect the presence of ASF virus. Carcasses, discarded parts from slaughtered pigs should be disposed by incineration or burial. No part of any wild boar should be brought into a pig holding.
Commercial pig holdings should be provided with storage basins, which allow manure treatment with disinfectants. Where necessary, the dispersion of pig slurry on agricultural lands should be avoided since the virus can be introduced into the environment infecting wild boar and free ranging pigs.
To ensure that semen is free from the ASF virus, provisions and requirements provided in the EU legislation and by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) should be followed.
The primary route of transmission of ASF is by direct contact between infected and susceptible pigs. Therefore, in risk areas it is necessary to adopt specific measures to minimise the risk of introducing the disease into the herd by direct contact, especially from wild pigs.
This article was compiled using a comprehensive review from 2016, authored by Italian scientists Silvia Bellini, Domenico Rutili and Vittorio Guberti, published in Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica.