During 2013-2015, several and severe outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) affected domestic pigs in six provinces of Zambia. Genetic characterization of ASF viruses (ASFVs) using standardized genotyping procedures revealed that genotypes I, II and XIV were associated with these outbreaks. Molecular and epidemiological data suggest that genotype II ASFV (Georgia 2007/1-like) detected in Northern Province of Zambia may have been introduced from neighbouring Tanzania. Also, a genotype II virus detected in Eastern Province of Zambia showed a p54 phylogenetic relationship that was inconsistent with that of p72, underscoring the genetic variability of ASFVs. While it appears genotype II viruses detected in Zambia arose from a domestic pig cycle, genotypes I and XIV possibly emerged from a sylvatic cycle. Overall, this study demonstrates the co-circulation of multiple genotypes of ASFVs, involvement of both the sylvatic and domestic pig cycle in ASF outbreaks in Zambia and possible trans-boundary spread of the disease in south-eastern Africa. Indeed, while there is need for regional or international concerted efforts in the control of ASF, understanding pig marketing practices, pig population dynamics, pig housing and rearing systems and community engagement will be important considerations when designing future prevention and control strategies of this disease in Zambia.
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