Classical swine fever (CSF) or hog cholera is a highly contagious viral disease of swine (pigs and wild boar). Wageningen Bioveterinary Research conducts research on this disease.
Spread of the disease
Transmission of classical swine fever takes place through direct contact between animals (secretions, excretions, semen, blood) or indirect contact through vehicles, clothes, instruments, needles, and insufficiently cooked waste food fed to pigs. It can also be spread by pig traders and farm visitors. Transplacental infection of foeti in the uterus can also take place. In areas with a high density of pigs spread of virus easily occurs between neighbouring pig holdings. Trade in live pigs and pig products (fresh pig meat and certain meat-based products) plays an important role in spreading the disease.
The clinical signs of classical swine fever are extremely variable and may be mistaken for many other diseases. CSF causes fever, conjunctivitis, skin lesions, convulsions and often (particularly in young animals) leads to death of the animal within less than four weeks.
Severity of symptoms mainly depends on the age of the animal and virus virulence. Usually young animals are affected more severely than older animals. In older breeding pigs the course of the infection is often mild or even subclinical. The symptoms are indistinguishable from those of African swine fever.