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Investigation into the epidemiology of African swine fever virus at the wildlife - domestic interface of the Gorongosa National Park, Central Mozambique

Quembo C.J., Jori F., Heath L., Pérez-Sánchez R., Vosloo V.. 2016. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 63 (4) : p. 443-451.

DOI: 10.1111/tbed.12289

An epidemiological study of African swine fever (ASF) was conducted between March 2006 and September 2007 in a rural area adjacent to the Gorongosa National park (GNP) located in the Central Mozambique. Domestic pigs and warthogs were sampled to determine the prevalence of antibodies against ASF virus and the salivary antigens of Ornithodoros spp. ticks, while ticks collected from pig pens were tested for the presence of ASFV. In addition, 310 framers were interviewed to gain a better understanding of the pig value chain and potential practices that could impact on the spread of the virus. The sero-prevalence to ASFV was 12.6% on farms and 9.1% in pigs, while it reached 75% in warthogs. Approximately 33% of pigs and 78% of warthogs showed antibodies against salivary antigens of ticks. The differences in sero-prevalence between farms close to the GNP, where there is greater chance for the sylvatic cycle to cause outbreaks, and farms located in the rest of the district, where pig to pig transmission is more likely to occur, were marginally significant. Ornithodoros spp. ticks were found in only 2 of 20 pig pens outside the GNP, and both pens had ticks testing positive for ASFV DNA. Interviews carried out among farmers indicated that biosecurity measures were mostly absent. Herd sizes were small with pigs kept in a free-ranging husbandry system (65%). Only 1.6% of farmers slaughtered on their premises, but 51% acknowledged allowing visitors into their farms to purchase pigs. ASF outbreaks seemed to have a severe economic impact with nearly 36% of farmers ceasing pig farming for at least 1 year after a suspected ASF outbreak. This study provides the first evidence of the existence of a sylvatic cycle in Mozambique and confirms the presence of a permanent source of virus for the domestic pig value chain.

Mots-clés : mozambique

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