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Wild Boar: an Increasing Concern for Aujeszky’s Disease Control in Pigs?

23 February 2012, at 12:00am

Studying the Aujeszky’s disease virus in wild boar over 10 years in six regions of Spain, researchers found the virus to be stable in the wild boar population, which increases the difficulties of eradicating the disease in domestic pigs in those regions.

Aujeszky's disease (AD), also known as pseudorabies, is one of the most economically important infectious diseases of pigs for which members of the pig family are the natural hosts, according to Mariana Boadella and colleagues at IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM) in Ciudad Real, Spain. In a paper published in BMC Veterinary Research, they explain that AD has a high economic impact in pig husbandry, both through direct effects of the disease on the animals and through movement and trade restrictions of pigs and their products. The direct impact of AD in wild boar population dynamics is considered to be low but AD outbreaks with associated wild boar mortality have been reported and restrictions to wild boar movements may also have an impact on wild boar production for hunting.

The goal of the study reported was to describe the temporal evolution of AD virus (ADV) contact prevalence among Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) populations under different management regimes and contact likelihoods with domestic pigs. Given the recent increase in wild boar abundance throughout Europe, the authors hypothesised that wild boar contact with ADV would remain stable in time even after significant reduction of ADV prevalence in domestic pigs.

For the study, sera from 1,659 wild boar were collected from 2000 to 2010 within six areas of the Iberian Peninsula and tested for the presence of antibodies against ADV by ELISA. According to sampling date, wild boar were grouped into three time periods. ADV prevalence was compared through period both globally and by geographic area.

Overall seroprevalence for the 10-year study period was 49.6±2.4 per cent. The highest seroprevalence was recorded in areas with intense wild boar management. The annual proportion of positive wild boar sampling sites remained stable through the study period, while the percentage of domestic pig AD–positive counties decreased from 70 per cent in 2003 to 1.7 per cent in 2010.

Boadella and co-authors say their results confirmed the hypothesis that ADV would remain almost stable in wild boar populations. They noted that this occurred in those areas where wild boar production as a hunting resource is practised, and ADV seroprevalence is high. The results also showed increasing seroprevalence rates for some of the areas studied in spite of the decreasing trend reported in pigs. These findings highlight the risk that wild boar pose in the final stages of ADV eradication in pigs and for wildlife conservation.

Reference

Boadella M., C. Gortázar, J. Vicente and F. Ruiz-Fons. 2012. Wild boar: an increasing concern for Aujeszky’s disease control in pigs? BMC Veterinary Research, 8:7. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-7

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.


Further Reading

- Find out more information on Aujeszky’s Disease by clicking here.


February 2012