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ASF Spread Mainly by Humans, Says Researcher

by 5m Editor
14 April 2011, at 10:54am

GLOBAL - Humans are the main cause of transmitting African Swine Fever (ASF), according to Russian virologist, Alexei Zaberezhny, from the Ivanovsky Institute in Moscow.

Dr Zaberezhny was speaking at the Epizone symposium on disease control, which takes place on 12 to 14 April in Arnhem, the Netherlands, reports AASV.

Together with Spanish scientists, Dr Zaberezhny studied the spreading behaviour of the virus in Russia and concluded that the virus is first transmitted between pigs and also jumps to wild boars.

He said: "Among wild boars, the virus is also transmitted, but these wild pigs hardly ever infect farm pigs again."

The African Swine Fever virus is a very stable virus. It can live for up to seven years at a temperature of 5°C. The virus is also able to survive in deep frozen meat and smoked ham.

Dr Zaberezhny said: "Now that we have an outbreak in Murmansk, we know that the virus can pop up everywhere."

He does not expect a good vaccine against African Swine Fever in the near future.

"A good vaccine can be produced against some viruses. For classical swine fever, there is a good vaccine available. However, after application the virus adapts, becomes chronic and keeps on spreading. This will be the same for a possible vaccine against African Swine Fever. The best method to eradicate the disease is prevention or animal culling, added Dr Zaberezhny.

Since 2007, Russia has been fighting a massive outbreak of African Swine Fever.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on swine fevers by clicking here.