Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Towards risk-based surveillance of African swine fever in Switzerland.

Abstract

African Swine Fever (ASF) has emerged as a disease of great concern to swine producers and government disease control agencies because of its severe consequences to animal health and the pig industry. Early detection of an ASF introduction is considered essential for reducing the impact of the disease. Risk-based surveillance approaches have been used as enhancements to early disease epidemic detection systems in livestock populations. Such approaches may consider the role wildlife plays in hosting and transmitting a disease. In this study, a method is presented to estimate and map the risk of introducing ASF into the domestic pig population through wild boar intermediate hosts. It makes use of data about hunted wild boar, rest areas along motorways connecting ASF affected countries to Switzerland, outdoor piggeries, and forest cover. These data were used to compute relative wild boar abundance as well as to estimate the risk of both disease introduction into the wild boar population and disease transmission to domestic pigs. The way relative wild boar abundance was calculated adds to the current state of the art by considering the effect of beech mast on hunting success and the probability of wild boar occurrence when distributing relative abundance values among individual grid cells. The risk of ASF introduction into the domestic pig population by wild boar was highest near the borders of France, Germany, and Italy. On the north side of the Alps, areas of high risk were located on the unshielded side of the main motorway crossing the Central Plateau, which acts as a barrier for wild boar. Estimating the risk of disease introduction into the domestic pig population without the intermediary of wild boar suggested that dispersing wild boar may play a key role in spreading the risk to areas remote from motorways. The results of this study can be used to focus surveillance efforts for early disease detection on high risk areas. The developed method may also inform policies to control other diseases that are transmitted by a direct contact from wild boar to domestic pigs.