SHIC Sponsored Research in Vietnam Looks at Risk of ASF Transmission via Boar Studs

The common practice of artificial insemination (AI) in pork production often involves outside equipment, specialized crews, and off-site boar studs. Because AI has been linked to the spread of several pig disease outbreaks, 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 this route. Specifically, the study will examine potential introduction of ASF to a sow farm as a result of semen movement from apparently healthy boar studs located in an ASF disease control area. Conducted 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 US 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 also look at the simulated spread of ASF in a sow farm with multiple sows simultaneously exposed to ASF via the AI process. Present limitations on currently proposed surveillance protocols as they apply to boar studs, along with the inability to definitely show semen produced within an ASF control area is virus-free, create the necessity for research to determine what surveillance is needed, and how long semen should be held, to increase the likelihood of ASF detection.

The outcome from this project will be a completed RA of the likelihood of disease spread from the movement of semen from boars in an ASF disease control area. 

As the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, SHIC continues to focus efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response to novel and emerging swine disease for the benefit of US swine health. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. SHIC is funded by America’s pork producers to fulfill its mission to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd. For more information, visit http://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Sundberg at psundberg@swinehealth.org.