African swine fever among slaughter pigs in Mubende district, Uganda

Owing to frequent reports of suspected outbreaks and the presence of reservoir hosts and vectors (warthogs, bushpigs and O. moubata ticks), African swine fever (ASF) is believed to be an endemic disease in Uganda. There have, however, been very few studies carried out to confirm its existence in Uganda. This study was carried out to describe the prevalence of ASF based on pathologic lesions and analysis of serum samples from slaughtered pigs during a suspected outbreak in the Mubende district of Uganda. The study was based on visits to 22 slaughterhouses where individual pigs were randomly selected for a detailed ante-mortem and post-mortem inspections. Sera were also collected for laboratory analysis. A total of 997 pigs (53.7% male and 46.3% female) were examined for lesions suggestive of ASF and sero-positivity of sera for ASF antibodies. The sera were tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and positive samples were further confirmed with an immunoblot assay. The results showed that 3.8% (38/997) of the pigs examined had clinical signs and post-mortem lesions suggestive of ASF. Two of 997 (0.2%) sera analysed were positive for ASF antibodies. Of the sub-counties investigated, Bagezza (12%) and Kiyuni (11%) had the highest prevalence of lesions suggestive of ASF based on ante- and post-mortem examination results, while Mubende town council (1.7%) had the lowest. This study found a low number of pigs (3.8%) with lesions suggestive of ASF at slaughter and an even lower number of pigs (0.2%) that were seropositive at slaughter, however a significantly higher number of pigs were slaughtered during the outbreak as a strategy for farmers to avoid losses associated with mortality.

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