Source: Dr Leana Janse van Rensburg, State Veterinarian Disease Control Unit, Directorate of Animal Health, DALRRD, photo credit: Lab Manager
African swine fever (ASF) in domestic pigs is a devastating disease and one of the main limitations for pig production in sub-Saharan Africa (Fasina et al., 2012; Penrith, 2009). This is due to the fact that this haemorrhagic disease usually has a very high mortality rate and no vaccine as a means of prevention, nor any means of treatment (Bastos et al, 2014; Costard et al., 2009; Penrith & Vosloo, 2009).
ASF is caused by a double-stranded DNA virus, the only member of the family Asfarviridae, in the genus Asfivirus (Alonso et al., 2018). African swine fever historically had three different epidemiological cycles, the natural sylvatic cycle between warthogs and soft ticks (tampans), the domestic pig-tick cycle and the domestic cycle, with transmission between pigs, either through direct contact or contact with contaminated meat or objects (Bastos et al., 2014). A fourth cycle between wild boar and its habitat has recently been described in Eurasia (Chenais et al., 2018).