African Swine Fever

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Related to African swine fever virus: Akabane virus, Classical swine fever virus

African swine fever

[′af·ri·kən ′swīn ‚fēv·ər]
(veterinary medicine)

African Swine Fever


(Latin, Pestis Africana suum), an acute viral infection involving the reticulo-endothelial system. This disease was first observed among the swine in South Africa by Hutchen in 1903. African swine fever occurs in Africa, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Under natural conditions, domesticated and wild swine of all ages are subject to African swine fever. Natural infection occurs through contact between healthy swine and the sick swine and virus carriers. The infection is spread through feed, pasture grounds, and means of transport contaminated by the sick swine.

The use of unsanitized wastes from cafeterias, restaurants, and slaughterhouses in the swines’ feed also contributes to the spread of infection. Insects, birds and beasts of prey, and dogs may be carriers of the virus. The incubation period is two to five days. The disease proceeds either instantaneously or acutely and chronically. In the first case, the animals die suddenly, without showing symptoms; in the second case, their temperature increases to 42.5°C, coughing and shortness of breath develops, appetite declines, nausea and paralysis occur, blood appears in wastes, the skin on ears and snout turns blue, and the animal becomes extremely weak.

No cure has been devised. On account of the highly dangerous nature of the disease and its ability to spread very rapidly, preventive measures have been centered on strict isolation of those animals suspected of the disease. When African swine fever appears, all swine on a farm are killed. The bodies are destroyed, and the pigsties and other equipment are disinfected. The introduction of new swine on the farm is permitted only one year after the disease has been liquidated.


Kovalenko, Ia. R. Afrikanskaia chuma svinei. Moscow, 1965.
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