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Eight Years of African Swine Fever in the Baltic States: Epidemiological Reflections

African swine fever (ASF) was first detected in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in 2014 and has since been circulating in the Baltic States with a similar epidemiological course characterized by persistence of the disease in the wild boar population and occasional spill-over infections in domestic pigs. The aim of the present study was to evaluate surveillance data on ASF in wild boar from the three countries to improve our understanding of the course of the disease. ASF surveillance and wild boar population data of the countries were analyzed. In all three countries, a decrease in the prevalence of ASF virus-positive wild boar was observed over time. Although somewhat delayed, an increase in the seroprevalence was seen. At the same time, the wild boar population density decreased significantly. Towards the end of the study period, the wild boar population recovered, and the prevalence of ASF virus-positive wild boar increased again, whereas the seroprevalence decreased. The decreasing virus prevalence has obviously led to virus circulation at a very low level. Together with the decreasing wild boar population density, the detection of ASF-infected wild boar and thus ASF control has become increasingly difficult. The course of ASF and its continuous spread clearly demonstrate the necessity to scrutinize current ASF surveillance and control strategies fundamentally and to consider new transdisciplinary approaches.



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