Risk of African swine fever incursion into the Netherlands by wild boar carcasses and meat carried by Dutch hunters from hunting trips abroad

M. Swanenburg*, T.C.W. Ploegaert, M.V. Kroese, C.J. de Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

After the first introduction of African swine fever (ASF) in the European Union in 2014, the ASF virus (ASFV) has steadily spread in the European Union. The virus has occasionally been transmitted over unexpectedly large distances that are believed to be related to human-mediated spread. Hunting tourism has been mentioned as a potential contributor to these long-distance jumps, although evidence is lacking. In this study, the possible role of hunters carrying ASFV-contaminated wild boar products (WBP) from hunting trips in affected countries was evaluated. A quantitative risk model was developed to estimate the expected annual number of ASF exposures of wild boar and domestic pigs in the Netherlands via this introduction route. Main input data into the model were the ASF prevalence in hunted wild boar, the number and destination of hunting trips of Dutch hunters, and the probabilities that hunters take WBP home and dispose leftovers such that wild boar or domestic pigs have access. The model indicated that the total expected annual number of exposures (wild boar and domestic pigs together) in the Netherlands is 0.048 (95% uncertainty interval 7.5 × 10−3 – 0.15). Model results were most sensitive to uncertainty on leftovers fed to domestic pigs (swill feeding), which is an illegal practice. Uncertainties on the ASF prevalence of hunted wild boar and the probabilities that hunters take WBP home also impacted model results. Default model results were based on the 2019 situation. Alternative scenarios were run with the model to account for the change of ASF status of Belgium (recovery of ASF-free status) and Germany (ASF-infected) in 2020. Results indicated that especially the presence of ASF in Germany increased the incursion risk. However, this increase might be counteracted by a change in travel behavior of hunters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100276
JournalMicrobial Risk Analysis
Volume25
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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