In 2007, African swine fever virus (ASFV) was introduced into the Transcaucasian countries and Russia. Since then, it has spread alarmingly and reached the European Union. ASFV strains are highly virulent and lead to almost 100 % mortality under experimental conditions. However, the possibility of dose-dependent disease courses has been discussed. For this reason, a study was undertaken to assess the risk of chronic disease and the establishment of carriers upon low-dose oronasal infection of domestic pigs and European wild boar. It was demonstrated that very low doses of ASFV are sufficient to infect especially weak or runted animals by the oronasal route. Some of these animals did not show clinical signs indicative of ASF, and they developed almost no fever. However, no changes were observed in individual animal regarding the onset, course and outcome of infection as assessed by diagnostic tests. After amplification of ASFV by these animals, pen- and stablemates became infected and developed acute lethal disease with similar characteristics in all animals. Thus, we found no indication of prolonged or chronic individual courses upon low-dose infection in either species. The scattered onset of clinical signs and pathogen detection within and among groups confirms moderate contagiosity that is strongly linked with blood contact. In conclusion, the prolonged course at the “herd level” together with the exceptionally low dose that proved to be sufficient to infect a runted wild boar could be important for disease dynamics in wild-boar populations and in backyard settings.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 1, 2015
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