Prevention: Research gap analysis on African ...

Research gap analysis on African swine fever

Components of the online survey for gap analysis on ASF
Components of the online survey for gap analysis on ASF

ITALY, Parma. The most significant knowledge gaps in the prevention and control of African swine fever (ASF) were identified by the EU Veterinary services and other stakeholders involved in pig production and wild boar management through an online survey.

The respondents were asked to identify the major research needs in order to improve short‐term ASF risk management. Four major gaps were identified: ‘wild boar’, ‘African swine fever virus (ASFV) survival and transmission’, ‘biosecurity’ and ‘surveillance’. In particular, the respondents stressed the need for better knowledge on wild boar management and surveillance, and improved knowledge on the possible mechanism for spread and persistence of ASF in wild boar populations.

Based on the results the following studies could be recommended:

  • in relation ASFV survival and transmission:
    • studies on the potential ASFV survival in feed and feed components before, during and after processing of feed from different sources;
    • studies on the role of different arthropod vectors in ASFV transmission.


  • in relation to wild boar density and wild boar population management:
    • studies to evaluate the impact of reducing the wild boar population densities in relation to transmission of ASFV; and studies on the natural behaviour of wild boar to improve wild boar population management.


  • in relation to biosecurity:
    • benchmarking studies or studies on the use of monitoring tools to improve biosecurity in domestic pig farming;
    • risk factor analysis for the entry of ASFV at farm level;
    • improving the husbandry practices and livestock production (professionalising pig farming) with appropriate biosecurity measures.


  • in relation to surveillance:
    • validation studies on rapid field diagnostics for ASFV;
    • methods or tools to increase sensitivity for carcass detection (passive surveillance);
    • sampling protocols for feed testing for ASFV.
  • other recommendations:
    • more border controls to control more the potential import of infected material/commodities;
    • promote more efficient communication via the distribution of leaflets;
    • distribution of protocols for cleaning and disinfection for ASFV in environment and equipment; training on decontamination programmes and procedures (FAO, 2001).

The respondents indicated the need for research on ASFV survival and transmission from the environment, different products such as feed and feed materials, and potential arthropod vector transmission. In addition, several research topics on biosecurity were identified as significant knowledge gaps and the need to identify risk factors for ASFV entry into domestic pig holdings, to develop protocols to implement specific and appropriate biosecurity measures, and to improve the knowledge about the domestic pig–wild boar interface.

Potential sources of ASFV introduction into unaffected countries need to be better understood by an in‐depth analysis of the possible pathways of introduction of ASFV with the focus on food, feed, transport of live wild boars and human movements. Finally, research on communication methods to increase awareness among all players involved in the epidemiology of ASF (including truck drivers, hunters and tourists) and to increase compliance with existing control measures was also a topic mentioned by all stakeholders.

Source: Efsa Journal