Workshop on the epidemiological analysis of ASF in Europe “Lessons learnt and further scientific actions” 10-11 October 2017
African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating transboundary virus infection of domestic and wild pigs. No vaccines or drugs are available to prevent or treat ASF infection. The epidemiological situation on ASF in the EU represents a threat to the pig sector and causes trade disruptions from affected areas. For more than 3 years, ASF has spread throughout the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic. Following a request of the European Commission (M-2016-0048, EFSA-Q-2016-00152), EFSA provides technical and scientific assistance to the Commission and the ASF-affected Member States(MSs) by collecting and analysing ASF epidemiological data. These data were used by EFSA’s ad hoc working group (WG) for a comprehensive epidemiological analysis of ASF, including a risk factor analysis, modelling the spread of the disease in Europe and an assessment of the effectiveness of the implemented measures by the MSs. In October 2017, EFSA organised a two-day workshop for representatives of the veterinary services, national laboratories and research institutions to receive feedback from participants on the report of EFSA’s WG and to discuss possible scientific actions to improve the prevention and control of ASF in wild boar and domestic pigs in the EU. Round-table discussions identified key scientific topics which need to be further investigated in the near future to further support science-based advice to risk managers. Some recommendations were as follows. There is a need for better understanding of the wild boar population dynamics and ecology. The evaluation of the efficacy of control measures applied in an area after a single, focal ASFV introduction needs to be differentiated from the evaluation of control measures applied in a larger area, infected for several years. A more detailed risk-factor analysis using landscape information is needed. The concepts of feeding and baiting need to be agreed upon for different EU contexts. Guidelines for ASF surveillance activities in wild boar populations in the not-yet infected, newly infected and endemic areas are required for different surveillance objectives.