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African swine fever is a serious, highly contagious, viral disease of pigs. African swine fever virus (ASFV) can spread very rapidly in pig populations by direct or indirect contact. It can persist for long periods in uncooked pig products, facilitating its introduction into new areas. This virus can also become endemic in feral or wild suids, and transmission cycles between these animals and Ornithodoros ticks can complicate or even prevent eradication. ASFV isolates vary in virulence from highly pathogenic strains that cause near 100% mortality to low–virulence isolates that can be difficult to diagnose. There is no vaccine or treatment.

African swine fever is a serious problem in many African countries. Changes in production practices and increasing globalization have also increased the risk of its introduction into other regions. Past outbreaks occurred in Europe, South America and the Caribbean, and the cost of eradication was significant. The swine herds of Malta and the Dominican Republic were completely depopulated during outbreaks in these countries. In Spain and Portugal, ASFV became endemic in the 1960s and complete eradication took more than 30 years. It still remains present on the island of Sardinia. In 2007, Africa swine fever was introduced into the Caucasus region of Eurasia, where it has spread widely among wild boar and domesticated pigs. This virus has caused outbreaks in pigs as far west as the easternmost countries of the E.U., and it has also been detected in wild boar in Iran.

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Iowa State University



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