African Swine Fever (ASFV) is a double-stranded DNA virus that belongs to the Asfarviridae family and is also the causative agent of African Swine Fever (ASF). This virus results in hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in various animals such as domesticated swine, wild boars, feral swine, warthogs, bush pigs, and giant forest hogs.
This deadly virus does not affect the human body. It was discovered for the first time when European settlers brought pigs with them into endemic areas with African Swine Fever. This, later on, became the prime reason behind the wild spread of this infectious disease.
What is African Swine Fever?
African Swine Fever, or ASFV, is a type of virus that attacks animals and causes a deadly hemorrhagic fever in them. This virus originated in Kenya in 1921 and spread widely around the world in the next few years. Although this disease does not spread among humans, it is still very dangerous for wild animals and domesticated pigs.
According to a study, the virus of African Swine Fever can last for upto 11 days in pig faeces, thereby increasing the chances of infection in other animals. Currently, there is no cure for AFSV.
Symptoms of African Swine Fever Virus
There are many signs and symptoms of the African Swine Fever Virus, which are given as follows:
- In the early stages, the pigs may develop a high fever, which may last a few days.
- Gradually, the pigs start losing their appetite and get depressed.
- Shivers, cough and abnormal breathing, is also a sign of African Swine Fever.
- They are unable to stand steadily.
- Within a few days, they enter a coma stage and die.
History of African Swine Fever Virus
- The primary outbreak of African Swine Fever was retrospectively recognised as having happened in 1907 and was first defined in 1921 in Kenya.
- The disease remained limited to the African continent until the year 1957, after which the AFSV was found in Lisbon, Portugal.
- Another spread of the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) was found in Portugal in the year 1960.
- Next to these preliminary introductions, the disease had become established within the Iberian peninsula, and sporadic outbreaks occurred in France, Belgium, and different European nations throughout the 1980s. Both Spain and Portugal managed to get rid of the disease with the aid of the mid-1990s through a slaughter policy.
- In 2018, the virus spread across Asia, affecting greater than 10 per cent of the entire pig population in numerous nations, which resulted in extreme economic losses in the pig sector.
Spread of the African Swine Fever Virus
The National Pig Association, a UK industry body, states that the virus is very likely to be transmitted through direct or indirect touch with infected pigs, faeces, or body fluids.
Since the virus might also live for 11 days in pig faeces and months or years in pork products, the National Pig Association advises strict biosecurity measures for pig farms along with a 3-day quarantine on getting into the United Kingdom and warding off each pig and regions wherein wild boar are discovered.
African Swine Fever Evolution
The African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) is believed to have originated from a virus of a tender tick, whose genus is Ornithodoros. The virus affects wild breed of swine, including some massive warthogs of the genus Phacochoerus Africanus, woodland hogs of the genus Hylochoerus meinertzhageni, and bushpigs of genus Potamochoerus porcus. This virus seems to have developed around 1700 AD. However, the primary outbreak of ASF started in 1907. The infection of AFSC in these wild hosts is generally asymptomatic.
African Swine Fever Virus Vaccine [Treatment]
There are no vaccines commercially available for this deadly virus yet, so it has been proven that animal slaughter is the most effective, powerful disease control alternative. Furthermore, the outbreak of the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) can be controlled and prevented only with proper disinfestation and sanitisation.
FAQs on African Swine Fever Virus
Q.1) What is African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV)?
African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) is a double-stranded DNA virus that belongs to the Asfarviridae family and is also the causative agent of African Swine Fever (ASF). African Swine Fever Virus affects pigs, wild boars, and other wild and domestic animals.
Q.2) What is the effect of the African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV)?
African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) results in hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in various animals such as domesticated swine, wild boars, feral swine, warthogs, bush pigs, and giant forest hogs.
Q.3) When was the African Swine Fever Virus discovered?
African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) was discovered for the first time when European settlers brought pigs with them into endemic areas with ASFV. It was discovered in Kenya in 1921 and remained in Africa till 1957, after which it spread to Portugal.
Q.4) From where was the African Swine Fever derived?
The African Swine Fever (ASFV) is thought to be derived from a virus of tender tick (genus Ornithodoros) that infects wild swine, which includes massive woodland hogs (Hylochoerus meinertzhageni), warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus), and bushpigs (Potamochoerus porcus).
Q.5) Has a vaccine been invented for African Swine Fever Virus?
There are no vaccines commercially available for the deadly African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) yet, so it has been proven that animal slaughter is the most effective, powerful disease control alternative.