African Swine Fever Primarily Transmitted by Humans

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

Zaberezhny spoke at the Epizone symposium on disease control, which takes place from April 12-14 in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

Together with Spanish scientists, Zaberezhny studied the spreading behavior of the virus in Russia and concluded that the virus is first transmitted between pigs and also jumps to wild boars."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 7 years at a temperature of 5 degrees Celcius. Also in deep frozen meat and smoked ham, the virus is able to survive. "Now that we have an outbreak in Moermansk, we know that the virus can pop up everywhere", according to the Russian researcher.

Zaberezhny 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, says Zaberezhny.

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