African swine fever (ASF) is one of the most severe diseases of pigs and has a drastic impact on pig industry. Wild boar populations play the role of ASF genotype II virus epidemiological reservoir. Disease surveillance in wild boar is carried out either by testing all the wild boar found sick or dead for virus detection (passive surveillance) or by testing for virus (and antibodies) all hunted wild boar (active surveillance). When virus prevalence and wild boar density are low as it happens close to eradication, the question on which kind of surveillance is more efficient in detecting the virus is still open. We built a simulation model to mimic the evolution of the host-parasite interaction in the European wild boar and to assess the efficiency of different surveillance strategies. We constructed a deterministic SIR model, which estimated the probability to detect the virus during the 8 years following its introduction, using both passive and active surveillance. Overall, passive surveillance provided a much larger number of ASF detections than active surveillance during the first year. During subsequent years, both active and passive surveillance exhibited a decrease in their probability to detect ASF. Such decrease, though, was more pronounced for passive surveillance. Under the assumption of 50% of carcasses detection, active surveillance became the best detection method when the endemic disease prevalence was lower than 1.5%, when hunting rate was >60% and when population density was lower than 0.1 individuals/km2
. In such a situation, though, the absolute probability to detect the disease was very low with both methods, and finding almost every carcass is the only way to ensure virus detection. The sensitivity analysis shows that carcass search effort is the sole parameter that increases proportionally the chance of ASF virus detection. Therefore, an effort should be made to promote active search of dead wild boar also in endemic areas, since reporting wild boar carcasses is crucial to understand the epidemiological situation in any of the different phases of ASF infection at any wild boar density.
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