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Tools and opportunities for African swine fever control in wild boar and feral pigs: a review

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The native Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) is a relevant wildlife host for African swine fever (ASF) virus, contributing to infection maintenance and spread and representing a challenge for disease control. Combining published scientific evidence with expert opinion, we provide an updated global overview of ASF control in wild boar and feral pigs in different epidemiological scenarios. We synthesize current knowledge on key background aspects of wild boar ecology and management and on ASF epidemiology in wild boar and their relative, the feral pig. We propose that establishing a proper surveillance and monitoring scheme is a requisite for disease control in wildlife and that ASF and wild boar should be monitored in an integrated way, considering the changes in the host population as well as the spatial spread and temporal distribution of disease indicators, to make possible a critical assessment of the impact of interventions. The main body of the manuscript reviews the intervention options and ASF control attempts and their outcomes in different epidemiological situations from peacetime to endemicity. Current ASF control in wild boar relies on three essential tools: carcass destruction, wild boar culling, and fencing. The experience gained since the onset of the ongoing ASF pandemic shows that certain combinations of interventions can slow down ASF spread and eventually succeed in ASF eradication in wild boar, at least after point introductions. Several strengths and weaknesses of these strategies are identified.

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CG acknowledges many expert colleagues and particularly Sofie Dhollander at EFSA for fruitful discussions.


PP received support from the Università Degli Studi di Torino-Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie through contract 8B/2022/VET and from University of Castilla-La Mancha through a Margarita Salas contract (2022-NACIONAL-110053).

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CG conceived the study. PP and CG conducted the review process and managed the writing of the manuscript. SB, RKB, EZ, YSJ, AL, VM, MLP, RP, JV and AV provide a detailed overview of ASF status in their respective countries. All authors contributed critically to the drafts and gave final approval for publication.

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Correspondence to Christian Gortázar.

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The authors confirm that the ethical policies of the journal, as noted on the journal’s author guidelines page, have been adhered to. No ethical approval was required as this is a review article with no original research data.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Appendix S1: complete list of references from literature review. (XLSX 342 KB)


Appendix S2: additional tables providing further details about EFSA reports, primary research in African swine fever (ASF), checklist for preparedness in the event of ASF (strengths and weakness). (DOCX 30 KB)

Appendix S3: detailed information on the point introductions in Czech Republic, Belgium and Italy. (DOCX 44 KB)

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Palencia, P., Blome, S., Brook, R.K. et al. Tools and opportunities for African swine fever control in wild boar and feral pigs: a review. Eur J Wildl Res 69, 69 (2023).

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