General information

African swine fever: everything you need to know about a dangerous disease


Even in ancient times, entire countries disappeared from the maps of epidemics. And in the modern world there are such viral infections from which no vaccines have been invented to prevent their outbreak. There are many diseases that pose a great danger to animals. Below we consider one of them - it is African swine fever. The danger to a person from it is small, but to be able to prevent its spread is extremely important.

What is African plague?

This disease appeared in the early 20th century. It was first recorded in South Africa at the very beginning of the 20th century. It has several names: African fever, East African plague. African swine fever poses no danger to humans, but rather quickly changes its form of flow. A characteristic feature of the virus is that it behaves unpredictably.

This is a viral disease that occurs with a very high temperature, a change in the color of the skin, and large foci of internal hemorrhages. According to the International Classification of Dangerous Animal Diseases that are infectious, it belongs to list A.

What is the danger of the disease for people?

If you ask yourself if African swine fever is dangerous for humans, you can answer in two ways. From the point of view of physical health, we can say that it is not dangerous to man. To be precise, no cases of human disease have been recorded. But on the other hand, the harm from this disease and the risks are still there, given that the course and forms of this disease are not fully understood. Consider some of them.

  1. African swine fever virus is not dangerous for humans, but any virus weakens the immune system. Already there have been cases of detection of antibodies against the plague in the human body, which means that it is possible that a person can tolerate this disease asymptomatically.
  2. Considering that the virus develops unpredictably and is so far the only one in the family of asfaviruses, an increase in its varieties is possible. There is a risk that he will take possession of man.
  3. There are data from which it is known that the virus was recorded in people with tropical fever. He can also provoke the development of other dangerous diseases.

It can be said that African swine fever poses no danger to humans, but contact with infected animals should be avoided, as the virus constantly mutates and it is impossible to predict its further behavior.

Who is at risk?

Whether African swine fever is dangerous for humans, we have already figured out. However, a person may be a mechanical carrier of the virus. Also carriers can become domestic and wild animals, skin parasites, rodents. Of course, sick pigs pose a threat to healthy ones only if they were in contact with them.

African swine fever is not only domestic pigs, but also wild. The disease can break out due to a virus carrier or a sick animal. The disease can also spread through feed, pastures and premises in which there were sick or carriers of the virus. Not neutralized wastes are dangerous.

Symptoms of the disease

Although African swine fever is not a danger to humans, it is necessary to know the symptoms of the disease in animals. It is worth noting that the disease can occur in several forms:

With lightning, the animal dies in the first day of the disease. At the same time, there is a strong weakness, heavy breathing and high body temperature up to 42 degrees.

In the acute form, as well as subacute and very rarely chronic, the following symptoms are observed:

  • the temperature rises to 40.5-42 degrees,
  • vomiting
  • breathing is difficult,
  • paralysis of the hind limbs,
  • blood excrement or constipation
  • weakness,
  • increased thirst
  • brown-purple spots appear in the neck.

The difference is only in the duration of the flow, so the acute form lasts up to 7 days, subacute up to 20.

Typically, the risk of mortality is from 50% to 100%. If the animal recovers, it is the carrier of this dangerous virus.

Diagnosis of the disease

Classical swine fever is very similar to the African form of the disease, so you must be very careful when diagnosing the disease. The farmer should regularly inspect the animals and in the event of the symptoms indicated above, it is necessary to immediately contact the veterinary service. First of all, it is urgent to isolate those animals that have suspicious symptoms.

If the diagnosis of African swine fever is established, there is no danger to the person in this process. The veterinarian conducts the inspection, fixes the changes, takes a number of samples for research. Be sure to find the source of infection. The antibody test identifies the disease.

Treatment of African Plague

Given the high infectivity of the virus, the treatment of infected animals is prohibited. In addition, scientists are looking for a vaccine against the virus, but so far unsuccessfully, and it can not be treated. All because he constantly changes his form. For example, before the death rate of animals was 100%, and now the disease is asymptomatic, often chronic.

However, there are measures that need to be taken when a sick animal is detected.

The task is to prevent the virus from spreading, therefore, if the plague is fixed, all the livestock in the epicenter must be destroyed in a bloodless way. The ash is mixed with lime and buried.

It is also necessary to destroy the items used in the care of livestock, feed. Adjacent territories and pig farms are treated with a hot 3% alkali solution and 2% formaldehyde solution.

Within a radius of 10 kilometers from the source of the disease, pigs are processed into canned food. Quarantine for half a year is announced. The premises cannot be used for a year after quarantine.

Analyzing all this, we can say that African swine fever is a danger to humans in the economic sphere. Large losses of livestock are reflected in the form of monetary losses and the cost of fighting the virus.

Plague prevention

In order for this serious disease of pigs not to endanger livestock, the following recommendations should be followed:

  1. Immediately vaccinate pigs from classical plague and erysipelas.
  2. Do not allow free grazing of animals, should be kept on a fenced area.
  3. To reorganize the room where animals are kept several times a month.
  4. Fight rodents, as they are carriers of the virus.
  5. If pigs are fed with animal waste, it is necessary to process them at a temperature not lower than 70 degrees, then add them to feed.
  6. Do not purchase pigs not verified by the State Veterinary Service.
  7. In case of any disease or suspicion of a virus, immediately contact the veterinary service.

Summing up the topic “African swine fever: is it dangerous to humans?”, We can say that while there is no serious threat, but you need to be alert, protect your health and be attentive to the animals you keep.

What is African swine fever?

African swine fever, also known as African fever or Montgomery disease, is an infectious disease, characterized by fever, inflammatory processes and cessation of blood supply to internal organs, pulmonary edema, skin and internal hemorrhages.

African fever with its symptoms is similar to the classical one, but it has a different origin - a DNA-containing virus of the genus Asfivirus of the Asfarviridae family. Two antigenic types of virus A and B and one subgroup of virus C have been established.

ASF is resistant to alkaline medium and formalin, but is sensitive to acidic environments (therefore, disinfection is usually carried out with chlorine-containing agents or acids), remains active at any temperature effect.

Important!Pork products that have not been heat treated retain viral activity for several months.

Where does the ASF virus come from

For the first time an outbreak of this disease was registered in 1903 in South Africa. The plague spread among wild pigs as a persistent infection, and when a virus outbreak occurred in domestic animals, the infection became acute with a 100% fatal outcome. Learn more about breeding goats, horses, cows, gobies. English researcher R. Montgomery as a result of studies of the plague in Kenya, 1909-1915. proved the viral nature of the disease. Later, ASF spread to African countries in the south of the Sahara desert. Studies of African plague have shown that more often outbreaks of the disease were observed in domestic animals in contact with wild African pigs. In 1957, the African plague was first seen in Portugal after the importation of food products from Angola. For a whole year, local herders struggled with the disease, which was eliminated only as a result of the slaughter of some 17,000 infected and suspected pigs.

After some time, an outbreak of infection was registered on the territory of Spain, bordering Portugal. For more than thirty years, these states have taken measures to eliminate ASF, but it was not until 1995 that they were declared free from infection. Four years later, an outbreak of a fatal disease was again diagnosed in Portugal.

Further, the symptoms of African plague were reported in pigs in France, Cuba, Brazil, Belgium and Holland. Because of the outbreak of infection in Haiti, Malta and the Dominican Republic had to kill all the animals. In Italy, the disease was first detected in 1967. Another outbreak of the plague virus was installed there in 1978 and has not been eliminated to date.

Since 2007, the ASF virus has spread to the territories of the Chechen Republic, North and South Ossetia, Ingushetia, Ukraine, Georgia, Abkhazia, Armenia and Russia.

The African plague causes enormous economic damage associated with the forced slaughter of all pigs in the outbreaks of diseases, quarantine and veterinary and sanitary measures. Spain, for example, has suffered losses of $ 92 million due to the eradication of the virus.

How does an ASF infection occur: the causes of the virus infection

The genome affects all livestock of wild and domestic animals, regardless of age, breed and quality of their content.

How is African swine fever spread:

  • With close contact of infected animals with healthy, through damaged skin, conjunctivitis of the eyes and oral cavity.
  • Bites of cutaneous parasites, such as lice, zoophilous flies, or ticks (ticks of the genus Ornithodoros are particularly dangerous).
  • Birds of the genome can be birds, small rodents, domestic animals, insects and people who have visited the infectious territory.
  • Vehicles contaminated during transportation of sick animals.
  • Virus-affected food waste and items for slaughtering pigs.

Important!The source of the deadly disease can be food waste, which is added to feed for pigs without proper treatment, as well as pastures in infected areas.

Symptoms and course of the disease

The incubation period of the disease is approximately two weeks. But the virus can manifest itself much later, depending on the state of the pig and the amount of the genome that has entered its body.

Did you know?The device of the digestive tract of pigs and their blood composition is close to human. Animal gastric juice is used to make insulin. In transplantology donor material is widely used in piglets. And human breast milk is similar in composition to pork amino acids.

Four forms of the disease are noted: hyperacute, acute, subacute and chronic.

External clinical indicators of the animal in the super-acute form of the disease are absent, death occurs suddenly.

In the acute form of African swine fever, the following [symptoms of the disease:

  • body temperature up to 42 ° С
  • weakness and depression of the animal,
  • purulent discharge of mucous eyes and nose,
  • paralysis of the hind limbs,
  • severe shortness of breath
  • vomiting
  • obstructed fever or, on the contrary, bloody diarrhea,
  • skin hemorrhages in the ears, lower abdomen and neck,
  • pneumonia,
  • dysmotility,
  • premature abortion of inseminated sows.

The plague is progressing from 1 to 7 days. Death is preceded by a sharp decrease in temperature and the onset of coma. Read the list of drugs for animals: "Biovit-80", "Enroksil", "Tylosin", "Tetravit", "Tetramizol", "Fosprenil", "Baykoks", "Nitrox Forte", "Baytril". Symptoms of the subacute form of ASF:

  • bouts of fever,
  • state of oppressed consciousness.

After 15-20 days, the animal dies from heart failure.

Chronic form is characterized by:

  • bouts of fever,
  • non-healing skin damage,
  • difficulty breathing
  • exhaustion
  • developmental lag
  • tendovaginitis,
  • arthritis.

Due to the rapid mutation of the virus, the symptoms may not appear in all infected individuals.

Diagnosis of African plague

The ASF virus appears as purple-blue spots on the skin of animals. In the presence of such symptoms, it is important to ascertain symptoms as quickly as possible and isolate the animals.

For accurate diagnosis of the virus, a comprehensive examination of infected cattle is carried out. After conducting clinical studies, a conclusion is made about the cause and route of infection of infected pigs.

Biological tests and research conducted in the laboratory, allow to determine the genome and its antigen. The deciding factor for the detection of the disease is an analysis of antibodies. Important!Blood for serological analysis of enzyme immunoassay is taken from both long-term sick pigs and individuals in contact with them. For laboratory tests, blood samples are taken from infected livestock, and fragments of organs are taken from dead bodies. Biomaterial is delivered in the shortest possible time, in individual packaging, placed in a container with ice.

Control measures against the spread of African plague

Treatment of animals, with a high degree of infectiousness of infection, is prohibited. The vaccine against ASF has not yet been found, and the disease cannot be cured because of the constant mutation. If earlier 100% of infected pigs died, today the disease is increasingly chronic and proceeds without symptoms.

Important!When an outbreak of African plague is found, it is necessary to expose all livestock to the bloodless destruction.

The area of ​​the slaughter should be isolated, the corpses in the future need to burn, and the ashes mixed with lime and bury. Unfortunately, only such tough measures will help prevent the further spread of the virus.

Infected feed and animal care products are also burned. The territory of the pig farm is treated with a hot solution of sodium hydroxide (3%) and formaldehyde (2%). Cattle at a distance of 10 km from the source of the virus are also slaughtered. Quarantine is declared, which is canceled after six months in the absence of symptoms of the disease of African swine fever.

The territory infected with ASF is forbidden to be used for breeding pig farms for a year after the abolition of quarantine.

Did you know?The largest litter in the world was recorded in 1961 in Denmark, when one pig was born immediately 34 pigs.

What to do to prevent ASF disease

To prevent contamination of the economy by the African plague to prevent disease:

  • Timely vaccination against classical plague and other diseases of pigs and systematic examinations of the veterinarian.
  • Keep pigs in fenced areas and prevent contact with animals of other owners.
  • Periodically disinfect the territory of the pig farm, warehouses with food and carry out treatment from parasites and small rodents.
  • Treat cattle from blood-sucking insects.
  • Acquire food in proven places. Before adding products of animal origin to pigs food, heat treatment of feed should be carried out.
  • Buy pigs only in agreement with the State Veterinary Service. Young piglets need to be isolated, before running into a common corral.
  • Transport and equipment from contaminated areas should not be used without prior treatment.
  • In the case of suspected viral infection in animals immediately report to the relevant authorities.

Did you know?In 2009, the pandemic of swine flu was declared, the most dangerous among all known. The spread of the virus was colossal, it was assigned a 6 degree of threat.

Is there a cure?

There are questions whether there is a cure for the disease, why African swine fever is dangerous for humans, is it possible to eat the meat of infected animals? There is currently no cure for ASF. However, there is no definitive answer as to whether the virus is dangerous for humans. No cases of human infection with the genome have been recorded. При правильной термообработке – варке или жарке, вирус чумы погибает, и мясо заболевших свиней можно употреблять в пищу. Important!The virus is constantly undergoing mutation. This can lead to a dangerous genome. However, African swine fever has not yet been fully studied, and a reasonable solution would still be to avoid contact with the cattle-peddler of the infection.

Any infection weakens the protective reaction of the human body. It can produce antibodies against the virus, this will lead to the fact that people will be carriers of the disease, while not having its symptoms. To protect yourself, you should avoid contact with sick animals. And also to carry out active actions to combat infection and its prevention, to be able to recognize the signs of infection in domestic animals in a timely manner.

Disease description

ASF is an infectious disease that causes fever, hemorrhagic diathesis, inflammation and necrosis of internal organs in pigs.

When autopsies of animals dead from ASF, numerous hemorrhages are found in the connective tissues. Internal organs - liver, kidneys, spleen - enlarged. The appearance of the lymph of dead pigs often looks like a continuous blood clot. In the chest and abdominal cavity is collected sero-hemorrhagic fluid with an admixture of fibrin and blood. Observed pulmonary edema.

The symptoms of the disease are similar to the classic swine fever, but have a different origin. The cause of the African plague disease is the DNA virus Asfivirus, from the family Asfarviridae, while classical swine fever is caused by another type - Pestivirus, of the Flaviviridae family. Several sero-immune and genotypes of the ASF virus were detected.

The plague genome is resistant to the effects of an acidic environment (pH from 2 to 13), survives in a wide temperature range, retains its activity during drying, rotting and freezing. For several months, the virus can persist in pork products that have not undergone high heat treatment.

How does the infection occur?

The African fever disease is transmitted through the mouth and skin by direct contact of infected pigs and healthy animals.

The virus can enter the body transmissively through skin bites of parasites: lice, zoophilic flies, ticks. Ticks of the genus Ornithodoros are especially dangerous.

Mechanical carriers of the ASF genome include birds, small rodents, people who have been in infected areas, vehicles that transport sick pigs.

The plague pathogens are stored in food waste, which is not added to cattle feed. The source of infection can be pastures in disadvantaged areas.

Like the classic swine fever, fever from Africa affects livestock regardless of age and breed.

Measures that must be performed when a disease is detected

While it is not possible to develop effective preventive measures that are guaranteed to avoid infection with ASF. The actions available today are aimed at suppressing outbreaks of the plague, restraining the further spread of the virus and reducing the risk of infection in healthy animals.

In case of detection of the plague focus, all the livestock located in the epicenter of the ASF, is subject to complete bloodless destruction.

The corpses of pigs, contaminated feed, livestock care items are burned. The ashes are mixed with lime and buried. Pig farms and surrounding areas are treated with hot 3% sodium hydroxide solution, 2% formaldehyde solution.

Animals located at a distance of 10 km from the outbreak of ASF, cut and processed into canned food. The area is declared quarantine, which is removed six months after the last case of pigs. The territory on which the virus was found cannot be used to maintain livestock for another year after the abolition of quarantine.

Measures to prevent disease

To protect animals, owners of private farms should follow the following rules:

  • In time to vaccinate pigs from the classical plague and erysipelas, in accordance with the requirements of the veterinary service. This will strengthen the immunity of animals and make it less susceptible to the African fever virus.
  • Keep cattle in a fenced and enclosed area, not allowing free walking.
  • Regularly, 2-3 times a month, process animals and premises from blood-sucking insects.
  • To combat small rodents, carriers of the virus.
  • Do not add animal products to pigs if they have not undergone high heat treatment. This is especially true of feed, which includes recycled waste of meat processing plants,
  • Do not smuggle. Pigs can be delivered only after consultation with the State Veterinary Service.
  • Immediately report to the relevant authorities about all cases of animal disease, even at the slightest suspicion of a virus.

Precautions to combat ASF are taken at the state level. There are rules and restrictions that apply to the importation of animals and food products, up to a ban on the import of meat products from countries whose territory has been visited by the swine fever virus.

Negative consequences for people

African swine fever is safe for human health. The virus affects only the livestock of pigs. Since the ASF genome dies during heat treatment above 70 ° C, the meat of animals can be eaten. Although the chief sanitary doctor of Russia suggested that a constantly mutated virus could become potentially dangerous for people in the future.

The negative effects of the disease are expressed in economic damage. To eliminate the focus of ASF, it is necessary to apply radical measures. Large losses of livestock, restrictions in the field of international trade are measured by tangible monetary losses. For example, since 2007, more than 500 outbreaks of African plague have been recorded in Russia. About one million pigs were destroyed, economic losses amounted to more than 30 billion rubles.

I want to believe that scientists will soon find a vaccine against ASF, and the virus will no longer harm the livestock of pigs and the economies of countries.

Symptoms of African Plague

The first information about the virus appeared relatively recently, in the first decade of the last century. Then the famous researcher R. Montgomery was in East Africa, where he registered a dangerous fatal virus, so the disease is sometimes called by its name. Over time, the disease spread throughout the African continent, and was brought to Europe, then to America, and later appeared on the territory of the Russian Federation.

To understand how dangerous ASF, you need to talk about possible ways of infection. There are several:

  • Respiratory.
  • Premises and transport in which feces of diseased animals are not cleaned.
  • If animals eat infectious food waste or waste from slaughter sites.
  • After bites of ticks that carry the infection.
  • After contact with infected objects and products left after the slaughter of sick pigs.
  • Insects, domestic animals, rodents and humans can also become sources of the disease if they were found in infected areas (slaughterhouses, warehouses).

Symptoms and manifestations make the African plague almost indistinguishable from classical swine fever. An incubation period of at least two days, but no more than two weeks, depends on a number of symptoms. This greatly complicates the correct diagnosis. The disease can be acute, subacute, hyperacute, chronic, and asymptomatic. If the ASF is acute, the animal dies about seven days after infection, superstate - three days, subacute - after two or three weeks. If during this time the death has not occurred, the chronic form most likely develops, and the animal will die after complete exhaustion of the body.
It is important to know that the African plague can affect not only domestic, but also wild adult pigs or piglets, regardless of age, gender or breed. The disease manifests itself in different periods of the year. Long-term studies suggest that on the European continent most often outbreaks of infection appear in the winter and also in the spring periods.
The final diagnosis is obtained after the complex laboratory tests have been completed.

Blood is taken from animals that have been ill for a long time, also from those that were in direct contact with sick animals of different ages.
In many cases, the African plague is acute. At this time, you can observe:

  • A sharp and significant increase in temperature (up to 40-42 ° C).
  • Complete rejection of feed.
  • Apathy is manifested.
  • Breathing becomes difficult.
  • Appear nasal and ocular discharge.
  • Sometimes an animal sheds.
  • The case becomes abrupt and causeless.
  • Motility is impaired, the pig loses the ability to move.
  • The gastrointestinal tract stops working fully.
  • Inflammation of the lungs.
  • Significant bruising, subcutaneous edema.
  • Development of variable fever.

The virus can mutate, symptoms change, so not all, but only some of the alleged symptoms can manifest themselves in a particular territory.

Symptoms of African plague in humans

There is no vaccine or medication with which animals could be treated. Almost all diseased pigs die.
If we talk about the dangers of African swine fever for people, then it is absent. Meat products can be used and will be fully suitable for use, there is a long-lasting full and high-quality heat treatment (cooking, roasting). It is necessary to take into account the fact that after smoking the virus will not be destroyed. When a person eats the meat of such a pig, his life will not be threatened, because the disease is not transmitted to people from diseased animals. But the veterinary service in any case, after the establishment of the African plague virus, will enter quarantine in the 20-kilometer zone, and will deal with the destruction of the entire pig population in the specified area, to prevent the spread of ASF. A person can also become a distributor of a dangerous disease. We give one simple example. The host slaughtered one of the pigs he kept without even knowing that she was infected. By eating this meat for food, the virus can spread to other animals. It is known that the unused residue of the breeder is formed in a separate container, then thrown away somewhere, most often as a feed for the remaining animals. So the disease will spread, and the person after eating meat products will become a distributor of the virus, unaware of it.

African swine fever does not affect the state of human health, because with you our body has no sensitivity in this type of pathogens. When an outbreak of infection occurs, a person often acts as a carrier of the virus, the infection can spread more quickly.

The pathogen is different and resistant to high temperatures (it may persist for a long time in carcasses, even after freezing or smoking). Not afraid of drying and rotting. At room temperatures, it remains viable for one and a half years, and if contaminated meat products are stored in freezers, the virus can even live for a decade!

What is dangerous African plague

African plague is a dangerous disease that can lead to the death of pigs, it is spreading rapidly. Therefore, every pig breeder should be familiar with the rules of animal welfare and know what needs to be done to combat the virus. In particular, you need:

  • Observe strict quarantine in localities where a virus has been detected, in order to prevent it from spreading to other farms, pig farms, complexes.
  • Without exception, all pigs caught in the epizootic focus are killed, using the bloodless method.
  • Carcasses of animals are burned, without export outside the quarantine zone.
  • The rest of the feed, feces, along with the inventory must be burned.
  • The places where animals were kept that are not to be incinerated are thoroughly disinfected by the veterinary service staff.
  • Stray animals, mites, insects and rodents are also destroyed in full.
  • In order for these measures to be successful, a 20-kilometer zone around the contaminated areas is processed.
  • A ban on the export of meat products outside the area during the month after disinfection measures were carried out.
  • Another six months from these areas will not be able to export crop production.
  • A whole year will not be able to grow pigs in areas that succumb to infection.

Anyone who breeds pigs can be given a few tips, the implementation of which will help prevent animal infection:

  • The farm should not be visited by strangers and strangers.
  • Animals need to be maintained without walking.
  • Small rodents and blood-sucking insects should be destroyed in a regular manner.
  • Transfer the animals to industrial feed, subjecting them to heat treatments (the temperature should exceed 80 ° C).
  • Wild animals and stray animals and birds (for example, crows, cats, dogs, boars) should not penetrate to the places where pigs are kept - they often carry a dangerous virus over long distances.
  • Inventory, which work near animals, should be treated.
  • Owners of large pig farms should skip transport that has undergone sanitary treatment.
  • Before slaughter pigs should be examined by a veterinarian and give a conclusion that they are healthy.
  • Employees of the veterinary service can tell you about how safe the area of ​​future breeding pigs, be sure to ask such information.
  • The seller must provide an opinion on the condition of the pigs that are sold to them.
  • Purchased pigs are placed for seven days in quarantine conditions, only after that connect with the herd.
  • It is mandatory to vaccinate pigs from various infectious diseases.
  • With the veterinarian make a plan for inspections.
  • If there is an unanticipated case, you must inform the veterinary authorities. It is forbidden to throw in landfills or independently engage in the burial of the corpses of animals, such meat products can not be processed, because any action can lead to the spread of infection in a large area, causing significant economic damage to many farms.

Most likely, many of the recommendations given may seem useless or not at all impracticable for individual business executives, but only with a strict and steady implementation of all preventive measures can animals be protected from the deadly virus.
Remember that even with the slightest suspicion of infection, the livestock will be fully sent to forced slaughter, there will be huge losses. Considering such unpleasant prospects, a person comes to the realization that tough preventive measures will be less expensive than combating the consequences of a virus.

The administration of the portal categorically does not recommend self-treatment and advises to see a doctor at the first symptoms of the disease. Our portal presents the best medical specialists to whom you can register online or by phone. You can choose a suitable doctor yourself or we will select it for you absolutely. is free. Also only when recording through us, The price for a consultation will be lower than in the clinic itself. This is our little gift for our visitors. Be healthy!