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Assessing Risk of African Swine Fever Virus Entry into EU

16 August 2014

Researchers from across Europe and the US have collaborated on a model that assesses the risk of the entry of the African swine fever virus by a range of routes into individual European Union member states.

The recent occurrence and spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Eastern Europe is perceived as a serious risk for the pig industry in the European Union (EU), report Lina Mur from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain and co-authors from across Europe and the US in BMC Veterinary Research.

In order to estimate the potential risk of ASF virus (ASFV) entering the EU, several pathways of introduction were previously assessed separately.

The work of this group aimed to integrate five of these assessments (legal imports of pigs, legal imports of products, illegal imports of products, fomites associated with transport and wild boar movements) into a modular tool that facilitates the visualisation and comprehension of the relative risk of ASFV introduction into the EU by each analysed pathway.

The framework’s results indicate that 48 per cent of EU countries are at relatively high risk (risk score 4 or 5 out of 5) for ASFV entry for at least one analysed pathway. Four of these countries obtained the maximum risk score for one pathway: Bulgaria for legally imported products during the high-risk period; Finland for wild boar; Slovenia and Sweden for legally imported pigs during the high-risk period.

Distribution of risk considerably differed from one pathway to another; for some pathways, the risk was concentrated in a few countries (e.g. transport fomites), whereas other pathways incurred a high risk for four or five countries (legal pigs, illegal imports and wild boar).

The modular framework, developed to estimate the risk of ASFV entry into the EU, is available in a public domain, and is a transparent, easy-to-interpret tool that can be updated and adapted if required, concluded Mur and co-authors.

They added that the results of the model indicate which EU countries at higher risk for each ASFV introduction route, and provide a useful basis to develop a global coordinated programme to improve ASFV prevention in the EU.


Mur L., B. Martínez-López, S. Costard, A. de la Torre, B.A. Jones, M. Martínez, F. Sánchez-Vizcaíno, M.J. Muñoz, D.U. Pfeiffer, J.M. Sánchez-Vizcaíno and B. Wieland. 2014. Modular framework to assess the risk of African swine fever virus entry into the European Union. BMC Veterinary Research. 10:145. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-145

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.
Find out more about swine fevers by clicking here.

August 2014

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