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Rationale: African swine fever virus (ASFv) poses an enormous biosecurity threat to the USA swine industry, food security, and economy. The persistence of ASFv in wild boar in Europe and Asia emphasizes that USA's growing feral swine population could challenge elimination and achievement of disease-free status after an introduction. Once ASFv establishes and reaches a state of sustained transmission and persistence in wild boar, it becomes very difficult to eliminate - thus rapid response plans that contain its spread are crucial. Current response plans are tailored to domestic swine and standardized across the Nation. However, rates of ASFv spread and our ability to remove feral swine quickly could vary dramatically across the Nation because these processes depend so much on local ecology (e.g. terrain, thickness of vegetation, how far feral swine move to find food or water). Response plans that consider local ecology would help us to prepare equipment and personnel needs, and to develop optimal strategies for rapid elimination of ASFv in feral swine across regions with different environmental conditions.We know from the European situation that transmission from ASFv-killed carcasses can be an important source of ASFv transmission and persistence, but we do not know how often feral swine make contact with carcasses or how long carcasses remain in different ecologies (i.e., due to weather-related decomposition or local scavenger populations) in the USA. This is important for predicting the rate of spatial spread of ASFv and planning carcass disposal actions during response, so that we can optimize response plans. Secondly, we also have little knowledge about how feral swine respond to intense, consistent removal in an area. In other social species it has been noted that disruption of social groups can alter movement rates, potentially driving higher rates of disease spread.Overarching goal: Our proposed work includes data collection and analysis (Obj. 1-3) that will fill these knowledge gaps (i.e., carcass visitation and decay, and feral swine movement during intense removal). These missing data will provide information to develop and apply a modeling framework (Obj. 4-5) that can be used to plan optimal response strategies across different environments in the USA.Specific objectives: 1) Measure wild swine movement and contact in response to intense control and estimate movement in different environments; 2) Estimate rates of visitation to carcasses and carcass decomposition rates; 3) Map the number of swine farms/farm sizes predicted to be affected by an introduction of ASFv in feral swine in different areas across the USA; 4) Develop a modeling framework for estimating optimal response plans and resource needs in different environments; 5) Determine optimal response plans across the USA, identify the most important uncertainties (information that would improve our confidence about response plans), and deliver results to stakeholders in a user-friendly tool.

Pepin, K.; Vercauteren, Ku, C..; Snow, Na, .; Miller, Ry, .
Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
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