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African Swine Fever: Lessons to Learn From Past Eradication Experiences. A Systematic Review

Prevention, early detection, prompt reaction, and communication play a crucial role in African swine fever (ASF) control. Appropriate surveillance capable of early detection of the disease in both domestic and wild animals, and the implementation of consolidated contingency plans, are currently considered the best means of controlling this disease. The purpose of this study was to understand the lessons to be learned through the global disease eradication history. To establish which strategies were successful for prevention, control, and eradication of ASF, and which errors should not be repeated, we conducted a systematic review. A query was defined to search for surveillance and control strategies applied by countries worldwide for ASF eradication in the past. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were defined. Decisions on study eligibility and data extraction were performed by two independent reviewers and the differences were resolved by consensus or by a third reviewer. From 1,980 papers, 23 were selected and included in the qualitative analysis. Reports from Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, France, mainland Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain were included. Despite the economic resources allocated and the efforts made, eradication was possible in only eight countries, between the 50s and 90s in the twentieth century, in different epidemiological and cultural contexts, in some instances within <1 year, and in others in about 40 years. Classical surveillance strategies, such as active and passive surveillance, both at farm and slaughterhouse levels, targeted surveillance, together with conventional biosafety and sanitary measures, led to eradication even in countries in which the tick's epidemiological role was demonstrated. Historical surveillance data analysis indicated that eradication was possible even when technological tools either were not available or were used less than they are currently. This emphasizes that data on surveillance and on animal population are crucial for planning effective surveillance, and targeting proper control and intervention strategies. This paper demonstrates that some strategies applied in the past were effective; these could be implemented and improved to confront the current epidemiological wave. This offers encouragement for the efforts made particularly in Europe during the recent epidemics.

Danzetta M, Marenzoni M, Iannetti S, Tizzani P, Calistri P, Feliziani F. African swine fever: lessons to learn from past eradication experiences. A systematic review. Front Vet Sci. 2020 June.