Reviewing the Potential Vectors and Hosts of African Swine Fever Virus Transmission in the United States
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African swine fever virus (ASFV) continues to threaten global animal health and agricultural biosecurity. Mitigating the establishment of ASFV in the United States (U.S.) is contingent on (1) the identification of arthropod vectors and vertebrate hosts that are capable of viral maintenance and transmission in the U.S. and (2) knowledge of vector-host associations that may permit transmission. We aggregated data on vector competence, host competence and tick-host associations by systematic review of published articles and collection records to identify species that may support the invasion of ASFV in the U.S. Three species of competent soft ticks occur in the U.S., Ornithodoros coriaceus, Ornithodoros turicata, and Ornithodoros puertoricensis, however, vector competence for the majority of soft ticks in the U.S. remains unknown. Three species of competent vertebrate hosts currently occur in the U.S.: domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus), feral hogs (Sus scrofa), and common warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus). Hierarchical hazard categories based on vector competence, tick-host contact rates, and vector abundance were used to semiquantitatively rank U.S. soft tick species by their relative risk for contributing to ASFV transmission to identify which soft tick species are a priority for future studies. High-risk vector and host species identified in this study can be used to focus ASFV risk assessments in the U.S., guide targeted surveillance and control strategies, and proactively prepare for an ASFV incursion event. Results indicate O. coriaceus, O. turicata, and O. puertoricensis demonstrate the highest relative risk for contributing to ASFV transmission in the U.S., however, many gaps in knowledge exist preventing the full evaluation of at least 30 soft tick species in the U.S. Further study is required to identify soft tick vectors that interact with feral swine populations, elucidate vector competence, and further understand the biology of soft tick species.
author list (cited authors)
Golnar, A. J., Martin, E., Wormington, J. D., Kading, R. C., Teel, P. D., Hamer, S. A., & Hamer, G. L.