African swine fever: an epidemiological update

Transbound Emerg Dis. 2012 Mar:59 Suppl 1:27-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1865-1682.2011.01293.x. Epub 2012 Jan 9.


African swine fever (ASF) is one of the most important swine diseases, mainly because of its significant sanitary and socioeconomic consequences. This review gives an update on the epidemiology of the disease and reviews key issues and strategies to improve control of the disease and promote its eradication. Several characteristics of ASF virus (ASFV) make its control and eradication difficult, including the absence of available vaccines, marked virus resistance in infected material and contaminated animal products, and a complex epidemiology and transmission involving tick reservoir virus interactions. The incidence of ASF has not only increased on the African continent over the last 15 years, so that it now affects West African countries, Mauritius and Madagascar, but it has also reached new areas, such as the Caucasus region in 2007. In fact, the rapid spread of the disease on the European continent and the uncontrolled situation in the Russian Federation places all countries at great risk as a result of intense global trade. The proximity of some affected areas to the European Union (EU) borders (<150 km) has increased concerns about the potential economic consequences of an ASF incursion into the EU pig sector. Establishing effective surveillance, control and eradication programmes that implicate all actors (veterinarians, farmers, and policy makers) is essential for controlling ASF. African swine fever -free countries should be aware of the potential risk of ASF incursion and implement risk reduction measures such as trade controls and other sanitary measures. This review will discuss lessons learnt so far about ASF control, current challenges to its control and future studies needed to support global efforts at prevention and control.

Keywords: African swine fever; epidemiology; prevention and control; update.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Southern / epidemiology
  • African Swine Fever / epidemiology*
  • African Swine Fever / prevention & control
  • African Swine Fever Virus / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / prevention & control
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / veterinary*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Global Health
  • Russia / epidemiology
  • Swine