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Kansas State University study confirms that African swine fever can be transmitted through feed

26 February 2019, at 10:31a.m.

The new study focuses on the volume of virus necessary for transmission between animals.

As an African swine fever outbreak has moved rapidly throughout China and threatens to spread to new countries in Europe, a Kansas State University researcher continues to understand the possible routes for disease introduction and transmission, according to reporting from FarmProgress.

Megan Niederwerder, Kansas State University assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is leading a team that is exploring how the current circulating strain of African swine fever, or ASF, could spread in feed and feed ingredients. A new publication details the dose necessary to transmit the disease when pigs ingest virus-contaminated feed or liquid.

"Although feed and feed ingredients are a less recognised transmission route for African swine fever, the global distribution of feed ingredients makes this pathway important to consider for transboundary introduction of the virus," Niederwerder says. "This study is the first to demonstrate that African swine fever can be easily transmitted through the natural consumption of contaminated feed and liquid."

The study, Infectious Dose of African Swine Fever Virus When Consumed Naturally in Liquid or Feed, was published in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Niederwerder and collaborators found that the level of virus required to cause infection in liquid was extremely low, demonstrating the high infectivity of African swine fever through the oral route. Although greater concentrations of virus were required to cause infection through feed, the high frequency of exposure may make contaminated feed a more significant risk factor.

Read more about the study here.