Quantification of different classical swine fever virus transmission routes within a single compartment

Weesendorp, E.; Backer, J.; Loeffen, W.L.A.


During outbreaks of classical swine fever (CSF), CSF virus (CSFV) can be transmitted via different routes. Understanding these transmission routes is crucial in preventing the unlimited spread of the virus in a naïve population, and the subsequent eradication of the virus from that population. The objectives of the present study were to quantify virus transmission within a compartment, differentiating between transmission within a pen, transmission between pens via contact through (open) pen partitions, and transmission via the air. Furthermore, the possible contribution of each of these routes to infection of individual pigs was quantified. A CSFV outbreak was mimicked in a compartment housing 24 pigs in six different pens. Two pigs in one pen were inoculated with the moderately virulent Paderborn strain, and virus transmission to other pigs was followed in time. Virus transmission rates for transmission via the air (ß of 0.33 (0.14–0.64) per day) and transmission between adjacent pens (ß of 0.30 (0–0.88) per day) were comparable, but significantly lower than for virus transmission within a pen (ß of 6.1 (0.86–18) per day). The route via the air created new focal points of infection, from which virus transmission continued through other routes. This shows that, at least within a compartment, transmission via the air is expected to play a relevant role in the fast spread of the virus after an initial slow start. This will have consequences for efficacy of intervention measures, including vaccination during an outbreak.