The African Swine Fever Epidemic in Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) in Lithuania (2014–2018)
In January 2014 the first case of African swine fever (ASF) in wild boar of the Baltic States was reported from Lithuania. It has been the first occurrence of the disease in Eastern EU member states. Since then, the disease spread further affecting not only the Baltic States and Poland but also south-eastern Europe, the Czech Republic and Belgium. The spreading pattern of ASF with its long-distance spread of several hundreds of kilometers on the one hand and the endemic situation in wild boar on the other is far from being understood. By analyzing data of ASF cases in wild boar along with implemented control measures in Lithuania from 2014–2018 this study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the disease. In brief, despite huge efforts to eradicate ASF, the disease is now endemic in the Lithuanian wild boar population. About 86% of Lithuanian’s territory is affected and over 3225 ASF cases in wild boar have been notified since 2014. The ASF epidemic led to a considerable decline in wild boar hunting bags. Intensified hunting might have reduced the wild boar population but this effect cannot be differentiated from the population decline caused by the disease itself. However, for ASF detection sampling of wild boar found dead supported by financial incentives turned out to be one of the most effective tools.