A stochastic assessment to quantify the risk of introduction of African swine fever virus to Taiwan via illegal pork products carried by international Travellers.
The current study quantified the risk of releasing African swine fever virus (ASFV) into Taiwan from pork products illegally carried by international travellers from 157 countries or territories through six international airports and three international seaports. The association between various factors and the number of pork products detected by the border control authorities was also examined. The risk was estimated with a stochastic process after modelling the number of undetected illegal pork products, probability of pork product detection at international airports and seaports and probability of ASFV contamination of pork products from various countries. The overall annual probability of ASFV release to Taiwan was estimated to be 1 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1-1] under no enhanced mitigation measures. All the median airport-level risks were higher than .921, and four of them reached 1. The total annual risk was .570 (95% CI: .109-.937) for international seaports. The country or territory level risk was estimated to be 1 for Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and South Korea, .999 (95% CI: .628-1) for Macao and .967 (95% CI: .359-1) for Indonesia. After the total number of travellers was factored in, the number of detected illegal pork products was the highest in January and February, and travellers from Vietnam [risk ratio to Japan (RR): 80.45; 95% CI: 58.68-110.3], the Philippines (RR: 37.67; 95% CI: 26.9-52.74) and Cambodia (RR: 28.39; 95% CI: 12.69-63.51) were most likely to bring pork products to Taiwan. Our study indicated a high risk of ASFV introduction through international travellers and also identified the factors associated with the risk. This information can be used as empirical evidence for cost-effective risk mitigation practices.