Stability of African Swine Fever Virus in Soil and Options to Mitigate the Potential Transmission Risk
Understanding African swine fever virus (ASFV) transmission is essential for strategies to minimize virus spread during an outbreak. ASFV can survive for extended time periods in animal products, carcasses, and the environment. While the ASFV genome was found in environments around infected farms, data on the virus survival in soil are scarce. We investigated different soil matrices spiked with ASFV-positive blood from infected wild boar to see if ASFV can remain infectious in the soil beneath infected carcasses. As expected, ASFV genome detection was possible over the entire sampling period. Soil pH, structure, and ambient temperature played a role in the stability of infectious ASFV. Infectious ASFV was demonstrated in specimens originating from sterile sand for at least three weeks, from beach sand for up to two weeks, from yard soil for one week, and from swamp soil for three days. The virus was not recovered from two acidic forest soils. All risk mitigation experiments with citric acid or calcium hydroxide resulted in complete inactivation. In conclusion, the stability of infectious ASFV is very low in acidic forest soils but rather high in sandy soils. However, given the high variability, treatment of carcass collection points with disinfectants should be considered.