#16-022

Complete

Date Full Report Received

08/30/2019

Date Abstract Report Received

08/30/2019

Investigation

Institution: ,
Primary Investigator:

African swine fever (ASF) is one of the most important viral diseases of swine, and it can have severe socio-economic impact in countries with significant commercial pig industry. ASF has been traditionally restricted to Africa, and never occurred in North America. However, the recent emergence of ASF in Europe and China has increased the risk of introducing ASF into the North America. The causative agent, ASF virus (ASFV), is a highly stable virus and therefore can survive for long time in contaminated meat and meat products. ASFV-contaminated pork products are one of the main sources of introduction of this virus into ASF free countries.

Whole blood and tissues from animals are the routine samples tested for the presence of ASF. These samples may not be available all the time, and one may require testing alternative sample types. Meat juice is such an alternative non-traditional sample type which can be easily obtained from muscle tissues collected at slaughterhouses, road kills and supermarkets, and at the border from legally and illegally imported meat and meat products.

In this project we investigated meat juice as alternative sample for ASF detection. A total of 58 pigs were used in the studies and infected with ASFV with different lethality – highly lethal, moderately lethal and low-lethal. When the animals started to show fever or antibodies in their blood they were euthanized, different muscle samples were collected and tested for the presence of ASFV-specific markers. The results show that meat juice can be successfully used to detect ASFV genomic material and anti-ASFV antibodies. Current serological confirmatory diagnostic tests for ASF use viral proteins prepared from ASFV-infected cells and therefore can only be performed at high-containment BSL-3 laboratories. This study evaluated three commercially available serological assays which use recombinant ASFV antigens, and therefore can be used by veterinary diagnostic laboratories throughout the world.

The findings from this study provide additional tools to strengthen capabilities of US and Canadian diagnostic laboratories to detect ASF early and thereby prevent a potential ASF outbreak in North America. In the event of an outbreak, meat juice can be assayed with commercially available serological assays at any veterinary animal health laboratory. This will facilitate business continuity and eradication of the disease in case of the ASF outbreak.