African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and fatal viral disease that affects both domestic and wild pigs. Predominantly a disease of sub-Saharan Africa, ASF was introduced to China in 2018 and rapidly spread throughout the region, decimating pig populations and causing significant economic losses. ASF spread to domestic pigs in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Lao PDR in 2019, and WildHealthNet facilitated the first detection of African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) in free ranging wild boar (Denstedt et al. 2020) in these countries. This rapid first detection enabled the scaling up of reporting of affected wild boar detected by rural communities, and opportunities for communication with these communities on how to prevent the spread, highlighting the huge value of surveillance at the wildlife-livestock interface.
Camera trap footage of over two dozen wild boar within Nam Et-Phou Louey (NEPL) National Park in Lao PDR. © WCS Lao PDR
In addition to active ASF investigations in coordination with government officials and NGOs, WildHealthNet is supporting passive participatory surveillance and reporting of wild boar carcasses by villagers, hunters, rangers, and animal health workers through community outreach and educational posters. (See posters here English, Laotian, and Vietnamese)
Left: Meeting with local communities in Laos at the frontlines of an African Swine Fever outbreak and conducting participatory mapping interviews to better understand the impacts on wild boar and their potential role as a reservoir host. © WCS Laos
Right: Educational poster explaining ASF symptoms and transmission in wild boar and outlining ways to prevent and monitor its spread. © WCS