Joining the club: First detection of African swine fever in wild boar in Germany

Sauter-Louis, Carola GND; Forth, Jan Hendrik GND; Probst, Carolina GND; Staubach, Christoph GND; Hlinak, Andreas; Rudovsky, Annett; Holland, Diana; Schlieben, Patricia; Göldner, Melanie; Schatz, Juliane GND; Bock, Sabine; Fischer, Melina GND; Schulz, Katja GND; Homeier-Bachmann, Timo GND; Plagemann, Ralf; Klaaß, Ulf; Marquart, Ronny; Mettenleiter, Thomas C. GND; Beer, Martin GND; Conraths, Franz Josef GND; Blome, Sandra GND

African swine fever (ASF) has spread across many countries in Europe since the introduction into Georgia in 2007. We report here on the first cases of ASF in wild boar detected in Germany close to the border with Poland. In addition to the constant risk of ASF virus (ASFV) spread through human activities, movements of infected wild boar also represent a route of introduction. Since ASF emerged in Western Poland in November 2019, surveillance efforts, in particular examination of wild boar found dead, were intensified in the regions of Germany bordering with Poland. The first case of ASF in wild boar in Germany was therefore detected by passive surveillance and confirmed on 10th September 2020. By 24th September 2020, 32 cases were recorded. Testing of samples from tissues of carcasses in different stages of decomposition yielded cycle threshold values from 18 to 36 in the OIE-recommended PCR which were comparable between the regional and national reference laboratory. Blood swabs yielded reliable results, indicating that the method is suitable also under outbreak conditions. Phylogenetic analysis of the ASFV whole-genome sequence generated from material of the first carcass detected in Germany, revealed that it groups with ASFV genotype II including all sequences from Eastern Europe, Asia and Belgium. However, some genetic markers including a 14 bp tandem repeat duplication in the O174L gene were confirmed that have so far been detected only in sequences from Poland (including Western Poland). Epidemiological investigations that include estimated postmortem intervals of wild boar carcasses of infected animals suggest that ASFV had been introduced into Germany in the first half of July 2020 or even earlier.

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Sauter-Louis, Carola / Forth, Jan / Probst, Carolina / et al: Joining the club: First detection of African swine fever in wild boar in Germany. 2020.

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