Identification of novel testing matrices for African swine fever surveillance

African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating viral disease of pigs and wild boar, and it threatens global food security. We aimed to identify suitable sample matrices for use in ASF surveillance programs. Six pigs inoculated with ASFV were sampled at postmortem. Blood, bone marrow, ear biopsies, and oral, nasal, and rectal swabs were taken from all pigs. All samples were analyzed using 3 real-time PCR (rtPCR) assays and a LAMP assay. ASFV was detected at > 107 genome copies/mL in blood; bone marrow was found to provide the highest viral load. Ct values provided by the rtPCR assays were correlated, and ASFV was detected in all oral, nasal, and rectal swabs and in all ear biopsy samples irrespective of the location from which they were taken. The LAMP assay had lower sensitivity, and detected ASFV in 54 of 66 positive samples, but delivered positive results within 17 min. We identified additional sample matrices that can be considered depending on the sampling situation: bone marrow had a high probability of detection, which could be useful for decomposed carcasses. However, ear biopsies provide an appropriate, high-throughput sample matrix to detect ASFV and may be useful during surveillance programs.

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