Med. Weter. 77 (03), 115-120, 2021

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KAZIMIERZ TARASIUK, ZYGMUNT GIŻEJEWSKI
Wild boar behaviour and the epidemiological significance of this animal species as the main reservoir of the African swine fever virus
Recent years (since 2013) have witnessed an increasing interest in wild boars in Europe because this animal species has become the most important reservoir of the African swine fever virus (ASFV). In all countries affected by ASF since 2013, the virus originated in wild boar populations, and the disease was directly or indirectly transmitted from wild boars to domestic pigs. In Poland, the first known case of ASF was detected in February 2014, and nearly 10 300 cases were reported by the end of April 2020. A correlation was found between the density of wild boar populations and the number of ASF cases. The global population of wild boars has increased considerably, and their natural range has expanded, particularly northward and westward. The mean annual growth rate in the wild boar population in Europe is around 100%. Milder winters and agricultural transformations that involve growing a single crop (in particular, maize) over large areas are the key factors contributing to the increase in the number of wild boars. In the opinion of most experts, recreational hunting is not sufficient to control the expansion of wild boar populations in Europe. Undoubtedly, wild boar populations will continue to be the main reservoir of the ASFV for many years to come, and wild boars will remain the major risk factor for ASF spread in commercial pig herds. Therefore, a new long-term approach to wild boar population management is needed
Keywords: African Swine Fever, wild boar, behaviour