An Evaluation of African Swine Fever Presentation and Distribution in Uganda

Principal Investigator: Karyn Havas

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
Sponsor: Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Grant Number: HDTRA12010007
Title: An Evaluation of African Swine Fever Presentation and Distribution in Uganda
Project Amount: $1,462,644
Project Period: April 2020 to April 2023

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): 

Uganda has a growing pork industry, but it is limited by a disease called African swine fever (ASF). Infections in pigs by the virus that causes ASF are hard to prevent, difficult to control, and devastating for swineherds. In the most serious outbreaks almost all the pigs will become ill and die; humans are not infected though. The threat to humans is in the food security of having readily available protein to eat. This project will target swine being slaughtered for human consumption in slaughterhouses near the major cities of Entebbe and Kampala in Uganda. The team will: 1) characterize circulating viruses by sequencing their genetic material and compare the sequences for differences and similiarities; 2) assess the clinical disease presentation, pathology presentation, and diagnostic assay results to characterize disease presentation and detection patterns; and 3) identify disease hotspots in the country to characterize the geographic spread of the virus and how these area farmers manage their animals to control disease. The Ugandan government needs this information to develop approaches to efficiently detect, track, and respond to ASF outbreaks in their country. This project will build upon a recently completed Quality Laboratory Management training for Ugandan veterinary laboratories and will use the standards taught in this training to assure reliable diagnostic testing that yields trusted results. This will provide the Ugandan government diagnostic test results that allow for disease reporting to the World Organization for Animal Health, the international organization that tracks outbreaks in member countries based on reports from member countries. Finally, this program will provide training to Ugandan scientists on how to safely kill viruses to allow research without the threat of causing further infection, and how to sequence the genetic material of a virus for characterization by using equipment already available in Uganda. The result will be a comprehensive understanding of the circulating virus, the methods that could best detect the virus in domestic swine; the farm management methods that are most likely to reduce or that are high risk for virus spread on farms and between farms; and training and expertise that will allow Ugandan scientists to continue, independently, the work needed to control this virus.