To support control and eradication programmes, appropriate diagnosis should involve the use of virus and antibody detection tests. As highlighted in the EFSA Expert opinion (EFSA Journal 2021; 19 (1):6402), PCR testing of blood or organ samples (spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils, kidney, bone marrow) is the recommended technique for early detection of the virus. The PCR test is the only test to be used for authorized movements from restricted zones as referred in commision implementing regulation (EU) 2023/594 of 16 March 2023, laying down special disease control measures for African Swine Fever.


Figure→ Dynamic of African Swine Fever virus infection with respect to the different clinical forms

Techniques and sampling collection

Sampling and shipping guidelines can be found in the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals (Chapter 3.9.1, 2021 on line edition). The selection of which test to use depends on available matrices, the purpose of the testing (surveillance, eradication, diagnosis, confirmation), as well as the ASF epidemiological status of the country (region) or stage of the epidemic in the region.

ASF diagnosis workflow in case of ASF suspicion

Laboratory testing requires well-defined laboratory contingency plan (LCP) with a detailed description of a simplified workflow that will provide rapid tools to demonstrate freedom from disease after an outbreak.

Interpretation of the ASF diagnostic results

Taken together, sensitive, specific, and robust laboratory diagnostic assays are available but, as for any other disease, there is not a single test being 100% reliable (sensitive and specific). For this reason, final diagnosis should be based on the interpretation of the results derived from the use of appropriate samples and validated tests in combination with the information coming from disease epidemiology, scenario, and the clinical signs. A thorough understanding of the viremia and antibody seroconversion timing during ASFV infection is a prerequisite to infer the dynamic of the infection in the investigated areas and to support control and eradication programs.