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Vet Microbiol. 2013 Jul 26;165(1-2):173-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

ASFV in Tanzania: asymptomatic pigs harbor virus of molecular similarity to Georgia 2007.

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Section for Virology, National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Lindholm, DK-4771 Kalvehave, Denmark. ASUT@VET.DTU.DK


In 2011 African swine fever virus (ASFV) genome was detected in asymptomatic pigs in field samples in Mbeya, Tanzania. The aim of this paper is to partly characterize the virus that was harbored in these pigs and furthermore to confirm, by a second sampling, the latest occurrence of ASFV in the study area. ASFV genome was detected in serum from 10 out of 127 healthy European/crossbreed pigs. ASFV DNA was polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified and sequenced from sera with high viral loads using primers targeting p54 or p72. Both p54 and p72 had total identity to ASFV Genotype II (Georgia 2007/1). The ASFV epidemiology in Mbeya was studied in a new collection of 804 pig sera obtained in 2012. The antibody prevalence in four age groups (3-6 months.; 7-12 months; 13-18 months or 19-36 months) was 3-5%; all antibody positive sera were analyzed by PCR with negative results. The presence of antibodies in 3-month-old pigs confirms the circulation of ASFV in Mbeya several months after our detection of ASFV in asymptomatic pigs. The initial blood samples were obtained on Whatman FTA filter papers as dried blood samples. The samples were stored under field conditions and ASFV could be sequenced in DNA eluted 10 months later, showing the use of FTA samples. Studies on the genetic breed of the pigs are needed as well as sequence studies including the variable region of ASFV to elucidate why asymptomatic pigs with high viral loads were detected.

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