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African Swine Fever: Fast and Furious or Slow and Steady?

Since the introduction of African swine fever (ASF) into Georgia in 2007, the disease has been spreading in an unprecedented way. Many countries that are still free from the disease fear the emergence of ASF in their territory either in domestic pigs or in wild boar. In the past, ASF was often described as being a highly contagious disease with mortality often up to 100%. However, the belief that the disease might enter a naïve population and rapidly affect the entire susceptible population needs to be critically reviewed. The current ASF epidemic in wild boar, but also the course of ASF within outbreaks in domestic pig holdings, suggest a constant, but relatively slow spread. Moreover, the results of several experimental and field studies support the impression that the spread of ASF is not always fast. ASF spread and its speed depend on various factors concerning the host, the virus, and also the environment. Many of these factors and their effects are not fully understood. For this review, we collated published information regarding the spreading speed of ASF and the factors that are deemed to influence the speed of ASF spread and tried to clarify some issues and open questions in this respect.


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