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African and classical swine fever: similarities, differences and epidemiological consequences

For the global pig industry, classical (CSF) and African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks are a constantly feared threat. Except for Sardinia, ASF was eradicated in Europe in the late 1990s, which led to a research focus on CSF because this disease continued to be present. However, ASF remerged in eastern Europe in 2007 and the interest in the disease, its control and epidemiology increased tremendously. The similar names and the same susceptible species suggest a similarity of the two viral diseases, a related biological behaviour and, correspondingly, similar epidemiological features. However, there are several essential differences between both diseases, which need to be considered for the design of control or preventive measures. In the present review, we aimed to collate differences and similarities of the two diseases that impact epidemiology and thus the necessary control actions. Our objective was to discuss critically, if and to which extent the current knowledge can be transferred from one disease to the other and where new findings should lead to a critical review of measures relating to the prevention, control and surveillance of ASF and CSF. Another intention was to identify research gaps, which need to be closed to increase the chances of a successful eradication of ASF and therefore for a decrease of the economic threat for pig holdings and the international trade.

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