Epidemiology, Economics and Risk Assessment

African swine fever

EERA group is investigating how to control and prevent the spread of African swine fever in both the UK and Africa.

Pig on bike


African swine fever (ASF) is considered to be one of the most devastating diseases in pigs and wild boar. ASF is a notifiable disease, and its presence causes disruption to domestic and international trade, with large scale culling campaigns put in place to control it as quickly as possible. In Africa, ASF is endemic and significantly affect the livelihood of local communities that are reliant in the sale of their animals for supporting families’ education and health bills. Unlike classical swine fever, there is no vaccine for ASF.

Our work

To date, no incursion of ASF has occurred in the UK. However, the recent expansion of the outbreak from Eastern Europe to Western Europe and Asia has increased the risk for ASF to be introduced. As part of Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks (EPIC), EERA is working in predicting the potential impact of a UK outbreak of ASF and assessing the impact of potential risky behaviours, thereby informing the Scottish Government, APHA and DEFRA and supporting their policy. EERA is also leading a team participating in the Global modelling challenge on ASF, together with partners from Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BIOSS) and the University of Edinburgh Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security.

EERA is also collaborating with the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in Malawi to better understand how ASF is spreading in the pig value chain in Malawi and support stakeholders in developing bespoke surveillance and mitigation programmes.

Related Links:

Selected publications:

  • Porphyre, T., Bronsvoort, M., Gunn, G. J. & Correia-Gomes, C. (2020) Multilayer network analysis unravels haulage vehicles as a hidden threat to the British swine industry. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. doi:10.1111/tbed.13459
  • Guinat, C., Porphyre, T., Gogin, A., Dixon, L., Pfeiffer, D. & Gubbins, S. (2018) Inferring within-herd transmission parameters for African swine fever virus using mortality data from outbreaks in the Russian Federation. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases. 65, 2, p. e264-e271. doi:10.1111/tbed.12748
  • Porphyre, T., Correia-Gomes, C. & Gunn, G. J., (2017) Government preparedness for exotic incursions of swine fevers in Scotland: How can research help? Proceedings of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SVEPM) - Inverness, Scotland, Inverness, United Kingdom
  • Gamado, K., Marion, G. & Porphyre, T. (2017) Data Driven Risk Assessment from Small Scale Epidemics: Estimation and Model Choice for Spatio- Temporal Data. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 4 doi:10.3389/fvets.2017.00016
  • Porphyre, T., Correia-Gomes, C., Chase-Topping, M., Gamado, K., Auty, H. K., Hutchinson, I., Reeves, A., Gunn, GJ. & Woolhouse, M. (2017) Vulnerability of the British swine industry to classical swine fever. Scientific Reports. 7, 42992. doi:10.1038/srep42992