Haematological, biochemical and clinical changes in domestic pigs experimentally infected with African swine fever virus isolates from Uganda
African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious often fatal viral disease of pigs caused by asfivirus. The disease causes marked leucopaenia, depletion of lymphocytes in the lymphoid tissues, changes in biochemical parameters, haemorrhages and necrosis in multiple organs of the infected pigs. We studied the pathogenic effect of three different Ugandan ASF virus (ASFV) isolates on twelve infected and six uninfected pigs. Each pig in the infected group was inoculated per os with 2 mls of ASFV culture solution containing 1X 108 H.A.D.U/ml of the viral culture solution while the control group were given 2 mls of uninfected porcine alveolar macrophages culture per-os. Clinical parameters were monitored daily and blood samples collected for leucocytes count and biochemical tests.
In the present study, the incubation period of the disease ranged from 7 - 15 days and in average the clinical disease lasted for 5 days. On the eighth day post infection, all test pigs had significant leucopaenia (p = 0.000) and number of lymphocytes reduced significantly (p =0.001,). Band neutrophils progressively increased in number as the disease progressed, however when the changes in mean band neutrophils in the three groups were compared it was not statistically significant (p= 0.52). There were no significant variations in the mean basophils and eosinophil counts in all experimental groups during study period (p = 0.30 and p = 0.32 respectively). Nevertheless, mean monocytes counts significantly increased in infected pigs (p = 0.01), while in uninfected group there was no significant variation in the mean monocytes counts. The majority of the pigs, 83.3% (n = 10) in the test groups had elevated levels of gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT). The Level of Alanine Amino Transferase (ALT) at 8 days post infection was elevated in all infected pigs in the three groups. In 66.7% (n = 8) infected pigs, Albumin (ALB) levels were elevated in the serum samples above the normal range of 18 – 33 g/l. The levels of other biochemicals in the serum samples such as Creatine kinase (CK), Creatinine (CREA), and Alkaline Phosphatase (ALKP) remained within the normal range (50- 3531 μ/L, 44 -186μmol/L, 92 - 294 μ/L, respectively).
We concluded that ASF causes significant deviation in leucocytes counts, increased levels of GGT, ALT and ALB and clinical parameters in pigs infected with Ugandan isolates of ASF virus.
Keywords: African swine fever (ASF), Domestic pigs Haematological, biochemical and clinical parameters