Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract Full Text

Evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of ASF detection with or without the use of on-field tests in different scenarios, in Sardinia.


African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease of domestic pigs and wild boars (WBs). Without a vaccine, early antibody and antigen detection and rapid diagnosis are crucial for the effective prevention of the disease and the employment of control measures. In Sardinia, where 3 different suid populations coexisted closely for a long time, the disease persists since 1978. The recent ASF eradication plan involves more stringent measures to combat free-ranging pigs and any kind of illegality in the pig industry. However, critical issues such as the low level of hunter cooperation with veterinary services and the time required for ASF detection in the WBs killed during the hunting season still remain. Considering the need to deliver true ASF negative carcasses as early as possible, this study focuses on the evaluation and validation of a duplex pen-side test that simultaneously detects antibodies and antigens specific to ASF virus, to improve molecular diagnosis under field conditions. The main goal was to establish the specificity of the two pen-side tests performed simultaneously and to determine their ability to detect the true ASF negative carcasses among the hunted WBs. Blood and organ samples of the WBs hunted during the 2018/2019 hunting seasons were obtained. A total of 160 animals were tested using the pen-side kit test; samples were collected for virological and serological analyses. A specificity of 98% was observed considering the official laboratory tests as gold standards. The new diagnostic techniques could facilitate faster and cost-effective control of the disease.