Patterns of ASFV Transmission in Domestic Pigs in Serbia

Pathogens. 2023 Jan 16;12(1):149. doi: 10.3390/pathogens12010149.


The first case of African swine fever in domestic pigs in Serbia was in 2019. The following year, the disease was confirmed in wild boar. Thenceforth, ASF has been continuously reported in both wild and domestic pigs. The outbreaks in domestic pigs could not be linked directly to wild boars, even though wild boars were endemically infected, and reservoirs for ASF. This study aimed to investigate outbreaks and routes of transmission in domestic pigs in a region of central Serbia where no outbreaks in wild boar were reported. Fourteen outbreaks of ASF on backyard farms with low biosecurity were traced back, and no connection to wild boar was found. The epidemic investigation covered 2094 holdings, with 24,368 pigs, out of which 1882 were tested for ASF. In surrounding hunting grounds, field searches were conducted. Dead wild boars were found, and 138 hunted wild boars were negative for ASFV. It was concluded that outbreaks in 2021 were provoked by the illegal trade of live animals and pig products. Even though infective pressure from wild boars is assumed, no positive cases have been found, while the ASFV spreads within the domestic swine population evidenced in four recent outbreaks in 2022.

Keywords: African swine fever; Serbia; disease drivers; domestic pigs; wild boar.