Stability of African Swine Fever Virus in Carcasses of Domestic Pigs and Wild Boar Experimentally Infected with the ASFV “Estonia 2014” Isolate
Europe is currently experiencing a long-lasting African swine fever (ASF) epidemic, both in domestic pigs and wild boar. There is great concern that carcasses of infected wild boar may act as long-term virus reservoirs in the environment. We evaluated the tenacity of ASF virus (ASFV) in tissues and body fluids from experimentally infected domestic pigs and wild boar, which were stored on different matrices and at different temperatures. Samples were analysed at regular intervals for viral genome and infectious virus. ASFV was most stable in spleen or muscles stored at −20 °C and in blood stored at 4 °C. In bones stored at −20 °C, infectious virus was detected for up to three months, and at 4 °C for up to one month, while at room temperature (RT), no infectious virus could be recovered after one week. Skin stored at −20 °C, 4 °C and RT remained infectious for up to three, six and three months, respectively. In urine and faeces, no infectious virus was recovered after one week, irrespective of the matrix. In conclusion, tissues and organs from decomposing carcasses that persist in the environment for a long time can be a source of infection for several months, especially at low temperatures.