Studentship: Transmission routes for African Swine Fever virus

Lead Research Organisation: The Pirbright Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


African swine fever is a deadly disease of domestic pigs with severe socio-economic impact. Transmission occurs by direct contact between pigs. Environmental contamination can lead to indirect transmission within a farm and is important for between-farm transmission in settings where free ranging is common, where contact with other carriers, such as wild boar or wild pigs occurs, or where equipment or vehicles are shared between farms. The virus has a high tenacity with potentially long survival up to days and weeks in an ideal environment. ASF virus can also be transmitted by the soft tick of the species Ornithodoros spp. and their importance as a reservoir has been described. Although different strains differ in their ability to be transmitted by ticks, recent experiments by IAH and RVC have confirmed that the isolate currently circulating in the Russian Federation can replicate within Ornithorodos species.
The spread of ASF to Georgia in 2007 and continuing spread through the Russian Federation increases the likelihood of spread into Europe in the near future. Over the last 20-30 years significant advances in the understanding of the epidemiology of African swine fever (ASF) have been made and risk factors for infection and spread identified, but attempts to model the spread of ASFV within and between herds have been hampered due to lack of data on the infectiousness of the different transmission routes. This information is essential for the design of effective and efficient control strategies.


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