Sandra Blome

Institute of Diagnostic Virology at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut
Isle of Riems, Germany


``ASF future perspectives on control and prevention``



Sandra BLOME is a veterinarian and works since 2008 at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut in Germany.

She is responsible for the national reference laboratories for classical and African swine fever.

Her research focuses on studies on pathogenesis of viral infectious diseases with particular emphasis on virus-host interactions and diagnostics/vaccine development.


African swine fever (ASF) has recently transformed from an exotic disease to a panzootic threat to domestic and wild suids world-wide. To combat the disease, we will have to tie strong bonds between countries and disciplines. Furthermore, we have to work on closing critical knowledge gaps.

Europe is currently facing different scenarios with front and point introductions, disease in wild boar and domestic pigs, and areas with long-lasting endemicities. This diversity calls for tailored approaches to surveillance, diagnosis, and control. While our proven, traditional prevention and control strategies work well for most areas with industrial pig farms, we quickly reach our limits when we have to control the disease with the means available to date in the abundant wild boar population or in regions with a majority of backyard farms. Here, we need to re-visit the use of barriers, means of carcass search and removal, biosecurity, and long-term actions to reduce wild boar densities in affected regions. In addition, we face conflicts of interest that arise between disease control and conservation or between hunting and farming, respectively. To turn the tide, vaccines, especially oral vaccines for wild boar, could be the missing tool. Here, benefit-risk-analyses will have to precede the decisions to implement vaccination strategies with the vaccines available to date (that are not licensed within Europe so far). Furthermore, we have to stay open-minded. The moderate contagiosity and effectiveness of biosecurity measures may also warrant discussions of modified control approaches in countries with limited resources.