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In: Understanding and combatting African Swine Fever
C. Gallardo European Union Reference Laboratory for African Swine Fever (EURL), Centro de Investigación en Sanidad Animal, (INIA-CISA), Valdeolmos, 28130 Madrid, Spain.

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A.P. Gerilovych National Scientific Center ‘Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine’ (NSC IECVM), 61023 Kharkiv, Ukraine.

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Several infectious diseases may manifest similar clinical signs to African swine fever (ASF). Differential diagnosis can only be confirmed by laboratory testing. The combination of at least two different methods of laboratory testing to confirm an ASF suspicion is recommended, e.g. detection of viral genome and detection of antibodies in suspected animals. Fully validated methods for detection of the ASF virus (ASFV) genome by PCR are available and some of them are commercialised. They are easy to use in diagnostic laboratories, and suitable for both active and passive surveillance. However, the virus isolation (VI) required for further characterisation of a viral strain requires specific skills and a highly-equipped laboratory. Both methods (PCR, VI) can be applied to assess the contamination of the environment or pork products, pig feed, etc. Fully validated methods for the detection of antibodies to ASFV by ELISA are also commercially available and easy to run. However, for serological test confirmation, the most recommended method (IPT) needs the same equipment as for VI and is mainly run only in national reference laboratories. Pen-side tests have been developed for rapid virus or antibody detection at the herd level. They would be sufficient for viral screening among susceptible animals, although their performances are currently under evaluation.

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