Understanding ASF spread and emergency control concepts in wild boar populations using individual‐based modelling and spatio‐temporal surveillance data
African swine fever (ASF) infection is circulating in Eurasia since a decade within wild boar populations without a demonstrated vector host. Further the infection was recurrently translocated by spatio‐temporal dynamics that is incompatible with wild boar movement characteristics. Management actions are required in areas affected by ASF. Control measures address areas with recent focal introduction and areas with ASF circulating several seasons or endemic occurrence. In view of acknowledged gaps in understanding ecology and epidemiology of ASF in Eurasian wild boar, mechanistic modelling was applied. A comparative assessment of alternative control efforts in the focal situations was performed, considering pre‐emptive hunting, carcass detection and removal as well as fencing of selected zones. The individual‐based model was applied to test whether inclusion of natural barriers would affect the similarity with ADNS notification data when simulating the landscape scale spread in the Baltics and Poland. The tendency of barriers to improve the explicit space‐time predictions of the model could not be proven, more research is needed here. The comparative assessment revealed that in the focal scenario the increasing removal of carcasses will provide the greatest return on investment (given carcasses being involved in the transmission). Culling of the inner zones, usually with ASF detections, should be organised early if biosecurity standards could be guaranteed. Preventive hunting around the zones affected by ASF was an inevitable measure to cope with the risk of undetected release of the infection, although the measure alone was unable to terminate the spread. Fences assumed not wild boar proof contributed only marginally to the success but may act as demarcation of management zones in practice. The focal approach appears useful and practical to address ASF after local introductions.