African Swine Fever (ASF) is a viral disease which affects both domestic pigs and wild boar. The disease arrived in Europe in 2007 and reached the European Union in 2014. Ever since ASF keeps on spreading within the EU. Hungary is the last country added to the list of ASF infected countries in April 2018. As it is not a zoonosis there is no risk for humans to catch this disease.
Nonetheless the pig industry and wild boar populations are hit severely which lead to huge economic losses. Transmission occurs through direct contact with infected animals (secretions, blood, semen), ingestion of food waste, pork products or preparations and other indirect routes of transmission (vehicles, contaminated equipment including hunting gear, agricultural tools and machinery, clothing). Contact with blood is the most efficient route of transmission. After infection the animals develop very severe, but unspecific general symptoms.
The fast spread of the disease can only be explained by the impact of humans. Humans spreading the disease through contaminated waste, feed rests, etc. This is the reason why awareness campaigns and high biosecurity measures are very important. Hunters are helping in monitoring and fighting ASF. As it is clear that there is not a one solution fits all approach, there should be room for specific measures that suit the specific circumstances.