The study analysis of long-term data of an outbreak; of classical swine fever in the wild boars. But swine fever, rabies, bird flu outbreaks of diseases in wildlife populations often also affect farm animals; and humans. However, their causes and the dynamics of their spread are often complex and not well understanding.
But now study carrying out an analysis of long-term data of an outbreak of classical swine fever in wild boars in the German federal state of Mecklenburg Vorpommern; that occurred between 1993 and 2000. The results suggest that non-infected regions have a higher risk of infection due to changes in movement patterns, particularly during the mast and rutting seasons; and thus highlighting the importance for focusing intervention efforts on specific individuals; seasons and areas in the event of future outbreaks.
The seasonal patterns of disease spread varied dramatically. Interestingly, at the county level, infection was more likely to occur in autumn and winter, while individual wild boars; especially the young, are most likely to become infected in spring during birth season. By assume that this is due to the increased movement activity in autumn and winter.
Classical swine fever
In particular, the search for mating partners; and the shortage of food lead to more frequent changes of location and thus likely enable the spread of the disease beyond district boundaries. Contrary to common interpretations, the density of wild boar in a municipality was not decisive. This finding is understandable, as almost all districts have more wild boar than necessary for the spread of infectious diseases.
The detailed long-term data collected by the authorities in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern during the outbreak made it possible to investigate the temporal and spatial differences in the spread of the disease. The authors analyzed the data for different phases of disease spread on the one hand and for individual animals and entire municipalities on the other.
Temporal and spatial differences
Classical swine fever (or European swine fever) is a viral infection affecting wild and domestic pigs. Despite similar symptoms, the pathogens of classical fever and African swine fever are not related in the course of the disease. Long-lasting outbreaks of classical swine fever among wild boars often lead to the spread of the infection to agricultural pig farms.
This can cause considerable economic damage if millions of domestic pigs; are emergency slaughtered and export bans are imposed on pork products. In order to limit the spread of classical swine fever in a wildlife population; vaccination baits could be used and/or the density of wild boar could be reduced by hunting.