With or without a vaccine - a review of complementary and alternative approaches to managing African swine fever in resource-constrained smallholder settings.
The spectacular recent spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Eastern Europe and Asia has been strongly associated, as it is in the endemic areas in Africa, with free-ranging pig populations and low-biosecurity backyard pig farming. Managing the disease in wild boar populations and in circumstances where the disease in domestic pigs is largely driven by poverty is particularly challenging and may remain so even in the presence of effective vaccines. The only option currently available to prevent ASF is strict biosecurity. Among small-scale pig farmers biosecurity measures are often considered unaffordable or impossible to implement. However, as outbreaks of ASF are also unaffordable, the adoption of basic biosecurity measures is imperative to achieve control and prevent losses. Biosecurity measures can be adapted to fit smallholder contexts, culture and costs. A longer-term approach that could prove valuable particularly for free-ranging pig populations would be exploitation of innate resistance to the virus, which is fully effective in wild African suids and has been observed in some domestic pig populations in areas of prolonged endemicity. We explore available options for preventing ASF in terms of feasibility, practicality and affordability among domestic pig populations that are at greatest risk of exposure to ASF.