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African Swine Fever - potential biological warfare threat

EasyChair Preprint no. 1904

27 pagesDate: November 8, 2019


African Swine Fever (ASF) is a viral infection which causes acute disease in domestic pigs and wild boars. Although the virus does not cause disease in humans, the impact it has on the economy, especially through trade and farming, is substantial and causes more than one billion EUR yearly losses in Eastern Europe and dozens of billions globally. Thus, ASF is a possible biological weapon, due to: ease of infectious material collection; its extremely high virulence; multiple transmission route mechanisms; no treatment and no vaccine; its high resistance to inactivation and devastating impact on pork production.
In our theoretical model, a single person (a “lone wolf”) without any special training in microbiology or financial support could release and disseminate ASF virus to a disease free territory. In contrast to other biological weapons, such as Bacillus anthracis or Variola virus (the respective causative agents of anthrax and smallpox), a terrorist could access the virus easily, e.g. by collecting infectious materials from wild boar carcasses. Sample preparation is simple and does not require any sophisticated laboratory equipment. Recent development of portable ASF virus detection kits in mid-2019 in China and possibility to anonymously test samples in accredited laboratories (e.g. in Ukraine) increased feasibility of attack, because until now material diagnosis was the weakest point in possible intentional introduction protocols. Such a contaminated material could easily be used for infection of swine or wild boars in a new disease-free territory and seed a new outbreak.
We conclude that rising awareness about the ease of an intentional ASF introduction to a disease-free region (via bioterrorism) is an important element of security strengthening and recommend the use of modeling approach for risk assessment as well its experimental validation of the international ASF dissemination.

Keyphrases: asf, Bioterrorism, risk assessment

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Andrzej Jarynowski and Daniel Platek and Łukasz Krzowski and Anton Gerylovich and Vitaly Belik},
  title = {African Swine Fever - potential biological warfare threat},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 1904},

  year = {EasyChair, 2019}}
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