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Targeted research effort on African swine fever (ASFORCE)


The ASFORCE research project (2012-2015) is a European consortium with 18 partners funded under the European Commissions’ Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for “Targeted Research Effort on African swine fever”, in response to the threat of African swine fever (ASF) entry into the EU, given the current spread in Eastern Europe and the worsening situation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The ASFORCE project aims at providing veterinarians, pig farmers, hunters and policy makers with practical answers and prevention tools against the disease.


African swine fever (ASF) is a contagious viral illness of pigs which induces a hemorrhagic fever and subsequent death (up to 100%) in infected animals. ASF adversely impacts the productivity of pig production systems by reducing the quantity and quality of pig derived products, threatening food security. This not only challenges the livelihoods of pig producers and other actors in the market chain, but may also have major socio-economic consequences for the immediate population as well as international trade. Any country with a pig sector is at risk from ASF. Detection of ASF in a country or economic community that participates in the international pork market as an exporter could result in exponential financial losses.


Today, the disease is considered endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, the Italian Mediterranean island of Sardinia, and parts of the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. The extremely high potential for transboundary spread of ASF was demonstrated by its arrival in the Caucasus in 2007 and its progressive advance through the Russian Federation and into Eastern Europe, where it has already become endemic in some regions, gaining increased attention from governments and international organizations alike. The high risk of disease introduction via legal or illegal movement of animals and animal products, particularly through its eastern borders, lead to the establishment  of the ASFORCE. Research efforts across Europe should therefore continue to provide the science for preparedness in this evolving situation.