With reference to the activities ofENCI in the field of African Swine Fever (ASF), thanks to the coordination of the Wildlife Surveillance Service of the Province of Alessandria, two units formed within the project "Use of dog units trained in the detection of wild boar carcasses as a tool for the prevention and control of ASF" in recent days they have intervened to support the monitoring teams of the territory. The project, promoted by ENCI already in 2019 with the patronage of ISPRA, LEGAMBIENTE, SIEF (Italian Society of Ecopathology of the Fauna) and Federico II University of Naples (Dept. of Veterinary Medicine), is nowadays useful and effective.
In the infected area, the number and timing of carcasses detected is the only tool available to follow the whole diffusion process, including the identification of the different stages of the evolution of the infection. In difficult monitoring conditions, as in the case of environments usually frequented by wild boars (for example the dense undergrowth), the use of dogs trained in the detection of target odors can support research teams and greatly improve the detection efficiency.
PSA is not transmissible to humans, but it has a huge spread potential, as a highly contagious and often fatal viral disease affecting pigs and wild boars. A possible ASF epidemic on the Italian territory could impact heavily on both the pig production sector and on anthropogenic activities, consequently to the definition of the restricted areas where field activities are prohibited.
This is the reason why the ENCI has long been planning the use of dog units trained for the purpose and has immediately acted, since the first cases of ASF, with attention and prudence regarding the ratification of the scheduled tests. Given the concern about the possible spread of the virus in other areas of Italy, some Regions have recently asked the collaboration of ENCI for the training of operators with detection dogs, trained in the detection of wild boar carcasses (source: ENCI).
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