African swine fever is one of the most important and serious diseases of domestic pigs. Its highly contagious nature and ability to spread over long distances make it one of the most feared diseases, since its devastating effects on pig production have been experienced not only in most of sub-Saharan Africa but also in western Europe, the Caribbean, Brazil and, most recently, the Caucasus. Unlike most diseases of livestock, there is no vaccine, and therefore prevention relies entirely upon preventing contact between the virus and the susceptible host. In order to do so it is necessary to understand the way in which the virus is transmitted and spreads. By implementing strict biosecurity measures that place barriers between the source of virus and the pigs it is possible to prevent infection. However, this has implications for free-ranging pig husbandry systems that are widespread in developing countries. Attempts to produce a vaccine are ongoing and new technology offers some hope for the future, but this will not remove the necessity for implementing adequate biosecurity on pig farms.