Classical swine fever (CSF) is one of the most important viral diseases of domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). For at least 4 decades, several European Union member states were confronted with outbreaks among wild boar and, as it had been shown that infected wild boar populations can be a major cause of primary outbreaks in domestic pigs, strict control measures for both species were implemented. To guarantee early detection and to demonstrate freedom from disease, intensive surveillance is carried out based on a hunting bag sample. In this context, virologic investigations play a major role in the early detection of new introductions and in regions immunized with a conventional vaccine. The required financial resources and personnel for reliable testing are often large, and sufficient sample sizes to detect low virus prevalences are difficult to obtain. We conducted a simulation to model the possible impact of changes in sample size and sampling intervals on the probability of CSF virus detection based on a study area of 65 German hunting grounds. A 5-yr period with 4,652 virologic investigations was considered. Results suggest that low prevalences could not be detected with a justifiable effort. The simulation of increased sample sizes per sampling interval showed only a slightly better performance but would be unrealistic in practice, especially outside the main hunting season. Further studies on other approaches such as targeted or risk-based sampling for virus detection in connection with (marker) antibody surveillance are needed.
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Vol. 52 • No. 4