U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 59(1), 2023, pp. 49–60

DOI: 10.7589/JWD-D-22-00061


U.S. government work


African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating hemorrhagic disease marked by extensive morbidity and mortality in infected swine. The recent global movement of African swine fever virus (ASFV) in domestic and wild swine (Sus scrofa) populations has initiated preparedness and response planning activities within many ASF-free countries. Within the US, feral swine are of utmost concern because they are susceptible to infection, are wide-spread, and are known to interact with domestic swine populations. African swine fever virus is particularly hardy and can remain viable in contaminated carcasses for weeks to months; therefore, carcass-based transmission plays an important role in the epidemiology of ASF. Proper disposal of ASF-infected carcasses has been demonstrated to be paramount to curbing an ASF outbreak in wild boar in Europe; preparedness efforts in the US anticipate carcass management being an essential component of control if an introduction were to occur. Due to environmental conditions, geographic features, or limited personnel, immediately removing every carcass from the landscape may not be viable. Hydrated lime converts to calcium carbonate, forming a sterile crust that may be used to minimize pathogen amplification. Any disturbance by scavenging animals to the sterile crust would nullify the effect of the hydrated lime; therefore, this pilot project aimed to evaluate the behavior of scavenging animals relative to hydrated lime-covered feral swine carcasses on the landscape. At two of the three study sites, hydrated limetreated carcasses were scavenged less frequently compared to the control carcasses. Additionally, the median time to scavenging was 1 d and 6 d for control versus hydrated lime-treated carcasses, respectively. While results of this study are preliminary, hydrated lime may be used to deter carcass disruption via scavenging in the event that the carcass cannot be immediately removed from the landscape.