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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Exploring the hurdles that remain for control of African swine fever in smallholder farming settings

Chenais, Erika; Depner, Klaus; Ebata, Ayako; Penrith, Mary-Louise; Pfeiffer, Dirk U.; Price, Cortney; Stahl, Karl; Fischer, Klara


To honour the 100 years anniversary of the first publication about African swine fever (ASF) a webinar with a particular focus on disease control in the smallholder sector was organized. This article is based on the webinar, summarizing the early history of ASF research, reflecting on the current global disease situation and bringing forward some suggestions that could contribute towards achieving control of ASF. The first description of ASF by R. Eustace Montgomery in 1921 laid the foundations for what we know about the disease today. Subsequent research confirmed its association with warthogs and soft ticks of the Ornithodoros moubata complex. During the latter half of the 21st century, exponential growth of pig production in Africa has led to a change in the ASF-epidemiology pattern. It is now dominated by a cycle involving domestic pigs and pork with virus spread driven by people. In 2007, a global ASF epidemic started, reaching large parts of Europe, Asia and the Americas. In Europe, this epidemic has primarily affected wild boar. In Asia, wild boar, smallholders and industrialized pig farms have been affected with impact on local, national and international pig value chains. Globally and historically, domestic pigs in smallholder settings are most frequently affected and the main driver of ASF virus transmission. Awaiting a safe and efficacious vaccine, we need to continue focus on other measures, such as biosecurity, for controlling the disease. However, smallholders face specific challenges linked to poverty and other structural factors in implementing biosecurity measures that can prevent spread. Improving biosecurity in the smallholder sector thus remains an important tool for preventing and controlling ASF. In this regard, interdisciplinary research can help to find new ways to promote safe practices, facilitate understanding and embrace smallholders' perspectives, engage stakeholders and adjust prevention and control policies to improve implementation.


ASF; disease control; epidemic; pigs; prevention; subsistence farming

Published in

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
2022, Volume: 69, number: 5, pages: e3370-e3378
Publisher: WILEY

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere
    SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Animal and Dairy Science
    Clinical Science

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