What is the Likelihood of ASF Transmission Via Boar Studs?

Vietnam ( MGN )

Artificial insemination (AI) has been linked to the spread of several pig disease outbreaks. Because of this, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) is using USDA-FAS grant funds to sponsor research in Vietnam on the risk of introducing African swine fever (ASF) via AI. 

The project will examine potential introduction of the deadly pig virus to a sow farm as a result of semen movement from apparently healthy boar studs located in an ASF disease control area, SHIC reports in a release.

The research will be led by a team from the University of Minnesota with academic partners from the Vietnam National University of Agriculture. The study will include a pro-active risk assessment (RA) systematically evaluating the potential risk of semen movements during an outbreak. Resulting information will help the U.S. swine industry continue to prepare for foreign animal disease issues as well as implement science-based prevention protocols.

This research will examine pathways of ASF introduction into boar studs and semen movement into sow farms. Researchers will study the simulated spread of ASF in a sow farm with multiple sows simultaneously exposed to ASF via the AI process.

SHIC reports that limitations on proposed surveillance protocols for boar studs and the inability to show that semen produced within an ASF control area is virus-free are two key reasons why this research is needed. Researchers hope this study determines what surveillance is needed and how long semen should be held in order to increase the likelihood of ASF detection.

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