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  • Publication
    Epidemiological analyses of African swine fever in the European Union (November 2018 to October 2019)
    This report provides an update of the epidemiology of African swine fever (ASF) in the European Union during the period November 2018 to October 2019. In this period, ASF has been confirmed in Slovakia, whereas Czechia became officially ASF-free in March 2019, bringing the number of affected countries in the EU to nine. The report provides a narrative update of the situation in the different countries and an analysis of the temporal and spatial patterns of the disease. There has been no increase in the proportion of seropositive hunted wild boar in the affected areas. In hunted animals, the proportions of wild boar testing polymerase chain reaction-positive and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-positive has remained low (< 0.05). In addition to the obvious seasonal peak in summer in domestic pigs, seasonality of ASF in wild boar was statistically confirmed. A network analysis demonstrated that the median velocity of the natural propagation of the disease in wild boar populations was between 2.9 and 11.7 km/year. Human-mediated spread, both in pigs and wild boar, however, remains important. Several wild boar- and domestic pig-related risk factors for ASF occurrence in non-commercial farms in Romania were identified with a case–control study. This report also updates an extensive literature review on control measures to stop the spread of the disease in wild boar and on measures to separate wild boar populations. Several new studies have been identified in this reporting period, but these did not alter the conclusions of the previous reporting period. Field experience with the use of fences as part of the control strategy deployed in the Belgian focal outbreak of ASF in wild boar is described. So far, the measures have proven effective to keep ASF virus inside the affected area. This strategy included a combination of different measures, namely zoning, carcass removal, a complete feeding ban, specific hunting regulations and depopulation actions depending on the zone, a partial ban of people and logging, and setting up a network of concentric fences.
      111Scopus© Citations 52
  • Publication
    ASF Exit Strategy: Providing cumulative evidence of the absence of African swine fever virus circulation in wild boar populations using standard surveillance measures
    EFSA assessed the role of seropositive wild boar in African swine fever (ASF) persistence. Surveillance data from Estonia and Latvia investigated with a generalised equation method demonstrated a significantly slower decline in seroprevalence in adult animals compared with subadults. The seroprevalence in adults, taking more than 24 months to approach zero after the last detection of ASFV circulation, would be a poor indicator to demonstrate the absence of virus circulation. A narrative literature review updated the knowledge on the mortality rate, the duration of protective immunity and maternal antibodies and transmission parameters. In addition, parameters potentially leading to prolonged virus circulation (persistence) in wild boar populations were reviewed. A stochastic explicit model was used to evaluate the dynamics of virus prevalence, seroprevalence and the number of carcasses attributed to ASF. Secondly, the impact of four scenarios on the duration of ASF virus (ASFV) persistence was evaluated with the model, namely a: (1) prolonged, lifelong infectious period, (2) reduction in the case‐fatality rate and prolonged transient infectiousness; (3) change in duration of protective immunity and (4) change in the duration of protection from maternal antibodies. Only the lifelong infectious period scenario had an important prolonging effect on the persistence of ASF. Finally, the model tested the performance of different proposed surveillance strategies to provide evidence of the absence of virus circulation (Exit Strategy). A two‐phase approach (Screening Phase, Confirmation Phase) was suggested for the Exit Strategy. The accuracy of the Exit Strategy increases with increasing numbers of carcasses collected and tested. The inclusion of active surveillance based on hunting has limited impact on the performance of the Exit Strategy compared with lengthening of the monitoring period. This performance improvement should be reasonably balanced against an unnecessary prolonged ‘time free’ with only a marginal gain in performance. Recommendations are provided for minimum monitoring periods leading to minimal failure rates of the Exit Strategy. The proposed Exit Strategy would fail with the presence of lifelong infectious wild boar. That said, it should be emphasised that the existence of such animals is speculative, based on current knowledge.
      76Scopus© Citations 17