A serological and immunohistochemical study of African swine fever was carried out in wild boar killed in seven municipalities in the north of the province of Cordoba during two hunting seasons (1991–92 and 1992–93), when the area was affected by the disease. Fourteen of 147 wild boar analysed by ELISA and immunoblotting had antibodies to African swine fever virus. The immunohistochemical study revealed that four cases (two seropositive and two seronegative) showed immunoreactivity to the anti-vP73 monoclonal antibody. Two of the VP73+ wild boar had severe generalised haemorrhages consistent with the acute form of the disease, and another had lesions consistent with subacute African swine fever, but none of the remaining 144 animals had gross or microscopic changes suggestive of the disease. These results indicate that wild boar can suffer from African swine fever without showing clinical signs. The disease in wild boar was associated with the disease in domestic pigs. Thus, no African swine fever-positive boar were found either in one municipality with no outbreaks in domestic pigs or in three municipalities with only one outbreak in pigs during the hunting seasons and during the previous year. These results suggest that European wild boar do not play an important role as carriers of the virus of African swine fever.
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