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Role of Wild Suids in the Epidemiology of African Swine Fever

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Abstract

There is presently no vaccine to combat African swine fever (ASF), a viral hemorrhagic fever of domestic pigs that causes up to 100% morbidity and mortality in naive, commercial pig populations. In its endemic setting, ASF virus cycles between asymptomatic warthogs and soft ticks, with persistence in exotic locations being ascribed to the almost global distribution of susceptible soft tick and suid hosts. An understanding of the role played by diverse hosts in the epidemiology of this multi-host disease is crucial for effective disease control. Unlike the intensively studied Ornithodoros tick vector, the role of many wild suids remains obscure, despite growing recognition for suid-exclusive virus cycling, without the agency of the argasid tick, at some localities. Because the four wild suid genera, Phacochoerus, Potamochoerus, Hylochoerus, and Sus differ from each other in taxonomy, distribution, ecology, reservoir host potential, virus shedding, ASF symptomology, and domestic-pig contact potential, their role in disease epidemiology is also varied. This first consolidated summary of ASF epidemiology in relation to wild suids summarizes current knowledge and identifies information gaps and future research priorities crucial for formulating effective disease control strategies.

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Acknowledgments

This review was initiated within the framework of a project funded by the European Food Safety Agency (CFP/EFSA/AHAW/2007/02) in order to review the literature of African swine fever. We are grateful to Dr. William Oliver, Chair of the IUCN Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippos Specialist Group, for allowing us to use IUCN maps as a template for those prepared for this review. We are grateful to the Wellcome Trust Foundation for funding some of the results reported in this article in Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Madagascar.

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Correspondence to Armanda D. S. Bastos.

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Jori, F., Bastos, A.D.S. Role of Wild Suids in the Epidemiology of African Swine Fever. EcoHealth 6, 296–310 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-009-0248-7

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