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African swine fever outbreak on a medium-sized farm in Uganda: biosecurity breaches and within-farm virus contamination
- Chenais, Erika, Sternberg-Lewerin, Susanna, Boqvist, Sofia, Liu, Lihong, LeBlanc, Neil, Aliro, Tonny, Masembe, Charles, Ståhl, Karl
- Tropical animal health and production 2017 v.49 no.2 pp. 337-346
- African swine fever, adults, biosecurity, blood serum, interviews, livestock and meat industry, piglets, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, small farms, soil, subsistence farming, viruses, Uganda
- In Uganda, a low-income country in east Africa, African swine fever (ASF) is endemic with yearly outbreaks. In the prevailing smallholder subsistence farming systems, farm biosecurity is largely non-existent. Outbreaks of ASF, particularly in smallholder farms, often go unreported, creating significant epidemiological knowledge gaps. The continuous circulation of ASF in smallholder settings also creates biosecurity challenges for larger farms. In this study, an on-going outbreak of ASF in an endemic area was investigated on farm level, including analyses of on-farm environmental virus contamination. The study was carried out on a medium-sized pig farm with 35 adult pigs and 103 piglets or growers at the onset of the outbreak. Within 3 months, all pigs had died or were slaughtered. The study included interviews with farm representatives as well as biological and environmental sampling. ASF was confirmed by the presence of ASF virus (ASFV) genomic material in biological (blood, serum) and environmental (soil, water, feed, manure) samples by real-time PCR. The ASFV-positive biological samples confirmed the clinical assessment and were consistent with known virus characteristics. Most environmental samples were found to be positive. Assessment of farm biosecurity, interviews, and the results from the biological and environmental samples revealed that breaches and non-compliance with biosecurity protocols most likely led to the introduction and within-farm spread of the virus. The information derived from this study provides valuable insight regarding the implementation of biosecurity measures, particularly in endemic areas.