Prevalence and spatiotemporal distribution of African swine fever in Lithuania, 2014-2017

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Abstract

Background: The emergence in 2014 and persistence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Lithuania has been linked to infected wild boar movement and close contact with the carcasses of other infected wild boars. Over time the number of reported cases of ASF in wild boars gradually increased, but no detailed epidemiological data has been available. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to determine ASF virus prevalence in wild boars and domestic pigs during the 2014-2017 period and further explore the current geographical distribution of the virus. Results: Our study results show that ASF virus prevalence in hunted wild boars using PCR analysis increased from 0.83% (95% CI 0.69-0.98) to 2.27% (95% CI 2.05-2.48) from 2014 to 2016 respectively. However, there was a dramatic jump in the number of ASF positive wild boars cases in 2017 resulting in prevalence of 12.39% (95% CI 11.91-12.86) (p < 0.05). The average prevalence of ASF-specific antibodies in wild boar population during years 2014-2017 was 0.45% (95% CI 0.39-0.51) based on ELISA test results. Prevalence of ASF virus in domestic pigs ranged from 0.24% (95% CI 0.17% - 0.32) in 2015 to 2.74% (95% CI 2.33% - 3.15) in 2017. The average seasonal prevalence of ASF virus in pigs was statistically significant (p < 0.05) and ranged from 0% in spring to 3.68% (95% CI 3.32-4.05) in summer. Correlation between the pig density and number of recorded pig ASF cases in affected regions was only found in 2017 (R = 0.78, p < 0.05). No correlation was detected between the wild boar density and number of recorded pig or wild boar ASF - positive cases. Conclusions: This study provides the first results of ASF virus prevalence changes in Lithuania during the 2014-2017. The overall results confirm the relatively high prevalence of ASF virus in wild boar that was gradually increasing from 2014 to 2017. In the last year of study, the number of ASF positive cases in both domestic pigs and wild boars had unexpectedly increased several times. A better understanding of current status of the disease will enable better control and prevent further spread of ASF virus in Western Europe.

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Pautienius, A., Grigas, J., Pileviciene, S., Zagrabskaite, R., Buitkuviene, J., Pridotkas, G., … Stankevicius, A. (2018). Prevalence and spatiotemporal distribution of African swine fever in Lithuania, 2014-2017. Virology Journal, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-018-1090-8

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