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Determining the best time to intervene in African swine fever outbreaks

M. B. Barongo, R. P. Bishop, E. M. Fèvre, D. L. Knoebel, A. Ssematimba

AFRICAN swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease in domestic pigs, for which there is currently no cure or vaccine. Control depends on strong biosecurity measures, pig confinement and movement restrictions on infected farms. Mathematical models may provide insight into the epidemiology of infectious diseases and the design of control strategies. This paper describes a model designed to simulate transmission dynamics of ASF virus in a free-ranging pig population under various intervention scenarios.

A mathematical model was developed and used to assess the relative impact of different intervention scenarios and determine the optimum response time to suspected ASF epidemics. A scenario analysis approach was used to assess the effect of different interventions on the number of pigs that succumb to ASF during a 200-day period. First, the disease was simulated in a population of 500 pigs without any intervention. Then, two categories of intervention were simulated: the implementation of biosecurity measures and the potential effect of using vaccines.

The model predicted that biosecurity measures implemented within 14 days of the onset of an epidemic could prevent up to 74 per cent of pig deaths due to …

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