Epidemiological considerations on African swine fever in Europe 2014-2018.
In 2007 African swine fever (ASF) arrived at a Black Sea harbour in Georgia and in 2014 the infection reached the European Union (EU), where it still expands its territory. ASF is a fatal viral disease affecting domestic pigs and wild boar of all ages with clinical presentations ranging from per-acute to chronic disease, including apparently asymptomatic courses. Until the detection of the first case inside the EU, infections in the current epidemic were mainly seen among pig farms with generally low biosecurity, and with incidental spill over to the wild boar population. In the EU, however, the infection survived locally in the wild boar population independently from outbreaks in domestic pigs, with a steady and low prevalence. Apart from the wild boar population and the habitat, the current epidemic recognizes humans as the main responsible for both long distance transmission and virus introduction in the domestic pig farms. This underlines the importance to include social science when planning ASF-prevention, -control, or -eradication measures. Based on experiences, knowledge and data gained from the current epidemic this review highlights some recent developments in the epidemiological understanding of ASF, especially concerning the role of wild boar and their habitats in ASF epidemiology. In this regard, the qualities of three epidemiological traits: contagiousity, tenacity, and case fatality rate, and their impact on ASF persistence and transmission are especially discussed.