Evaluation of dam parity and internal biosecurity practices in influenza infections in piglets prior to weaning

Gustavo Lopez-Moreno, Jorge Garrido-Mantilla, Juan M. Sanhueza, Aaron Rendahl, Peter Davies, Marie Culhane, Emily McDowell, Eduardo Fano, Christa Goodell, Montserrat Torremorell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Influenza is an important respiratory disease of pigs and humans. Controlling influenza in pigs is challenging due to the substantial genetic diversity of influenza A virus (IAV). In this study, we assessed the impact of internal biosecurity practices directed at limiting exposure of piglets to IAV before weaning; evaluated the association of sow parity with IAV prevalence in piglets and the levels of maternally derived antibodies (MDA), and documented the frequency of detection of IAV on farmworkers’ hands and the instruments used when handling pigs. The control group included litters in rooms where no specific changes were made to standard farm procedures. The treatment group included litters in rooms where no cross-fostering or nurse sows use was allowed, and where farmworkers were required to change gloves between litters when handling pigs. Both, younger (≤ Parity 3) and older parity sows (>Parity 3) were represented in all rooms included in the study. Overall, litters in the treatment group had lower IAV prevalence (29.9 %) than litters in the control group (44.2 %) (p < 0.001), and at day 8 of age the litters from the control group had 7.5 times higher IAV prevalence than the litters from the treatment group. However, at weaning differences were not found (77.2 % vs. 81 % for treatment vs. control, respectively, p = 0.41). There were no differences in IAV detection between parity groups at any of the sampling points (p = 0.86) and incidence of detection in sows from farrowing to weaning was 29 %. Piglets that tested ELISA negative were 1.3 times more likely to test IAV positive than piglets that were ELISA positive for IAV antibody test, suggesting that effective colostrum intake may reduce the likelihood of infection. IAV was detected on 46 % of the instruments used when handling piglets and on 58 % of farmworkers’ hands, indicating the potential risk for mechanical transmission of IAV in pigs. Overall, we showed that the implementation of internal biosecurity practices that limit IAV exposure to newborn piglets helped delay IAV infections but were not sufficient to reduce the prevalence of IAV infection in litters at weaning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105764
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Breeding herds
  • Dam parity
  • Influenza A virus
  • Management practices
  • Swine


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