African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease that affects domestic and wild pigs. It is caused by the African swine fever virus (ASFV), which is transmitted through direct contact with infected animals, contaminated objects, or the bites of infected ticks.
ASF was first identified in Africa in the 1920s and has since spread to other parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The disease is currently present in many countries in Africa, as well as in parts of Europe and Asia.
Symptoms of ASF can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the age and health of the pig. In acute cases, pigs may exhibit sudden fever, loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin hemorrhages. In chronic cases, pigs may show signs of respiratory or reproductive problems.
ASF is a significant threat to the pig farming industry, as it can cause high mortality rates in affected herds and can lead to trade restrictions on pork products. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for ASF, so controlling the disease requires measures such as quarantine, culling infected animals, and implementing strict biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has developed guidelines and recommendations for preventing and controlling ASF. These include surveillance and early detection, prompt reporting of suspected cases, and the implementation of effective biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus.
In addition, research is ongoing to develop a vaccine for ASF, as well as new diagnostic tools and treatments for infected pigs.