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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Smallholders' perceptions on biosecurity and disease control in relation to African swine fever in an endemically infected area in Northern Uganda

Chenais, Erika; Lewerin, Susanna Sternberg; Boqvist, Sofia; Stahl, Karl; Alike, Solomon; Nokorach, Bruce; Emanuelson, Ulf


Background In Africa, intensified pig production is frequently accompanied by increased occurrence of African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks, leading to high case fatality rates and socio-economic impact for the farmers. ASF control relies on prevention of disease transmission and control of outbreaks. The aim of this study was to increase the understanding on how the knowledge of ASF epidemiology and control can be transferred into successfully implemented biosecurity interventions on farm and community level. Structured interviews with 200 randomly selected, pig-keeping households in northern Uganda were undertaken three times. Perceptions related to general biosecurity and hypothetical control interventions and attitudes towards pig farming were investigated by measuring the agreement to statements using a Likert scale. Results Respondents generally conveyed positivism towards pig farming, biosecurity, and the potential of biosecurity for preventing ASF outbreaks. These positive attitudes, as well as the will to invest in biosecurity, were reduced in households that had experienced ASF outbreaks. Among the control interventions change of boots before entering the pig stable was highly accepted and seasonal adaptation of pig rearing times accepted on medium level. Statements on preventive sales of healthy pigs in connection with outbreaks and on buying pork products from slaughter operations receiving ASF-contact pigs received low acceptance, increasing, however, for households that had experienced ASF outbreaks. Consumption of pork from ASF infected pigs was generally not accepted, medium level of agreement was expressed for statements on the zoonotic potential of ASF and for neutralizing ASF by cooking. Conclusions To gain in-depth understanding of the complexity of people's behaviour, reasoning and decision-making processes, deeper involvement of the social sciences and a qualitative research approach might be used for further studies. Communicating information regarding the ASF not being zoonotic, and how the virus is neutralized will be important for increasing acceptance and enhancing implementation for the hypothetical control interventions preventive sales, safe slaughter, and consumption of processed and safe pork. Likewise, participatory development to adopt any control interventions to the local context on community level will be necessary for successful implementation.


Epizootic pig diseases; Prevention; Implementation; Intervention; Smallholders

Published in

BMC Veterinary Research
2019, Volume: 15, number: 1, article number: 279
Publisher: BMC