Indirect assessment of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus status in pigs prior to weaning by sampling sows and the environment

Carles Vilalta, Juan Sanhueza, Jorge Garrido, Deb Murray, Robert Morrison, Cesar A. Corzo, Montserrat Torremorell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


There is a need to develop cost effective approaches to sample large populations in particular to determine the disease status of pigs prior to weaning. In this study we assessed the presence of the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) in the environment (surfaces and air) of farrowing rooms, and udder skin of lactating sows as an indirect measure of piglet PRRSV status. Samples were collected at processing and weaning every three weeks for 23 weeks after a PRRSV outbreak was diagnosed in a swine breeding herd. PRRSV was detected at processing in udder skin wipes, environmental wipes and airborne deposited particle samples up to 14 weeks post outbreak and at weaning in udder skin wipes up to 17 weeks post outbreak. Similar sensitivities were observed for udder skin wipes (43% [95% CI: 23%–66%]) and surface wipes (57% [95% CI: 34%–77%]) when compared to serum at the litter level from piglets at processing. PRRSV was detected in the environment and the udder skin of lactating sows, which indicates that aggregate samples of the environment or lactating sows may be used to evaluate the PRRSV status of the herd in pigs prior to weaning. However, the use of environmental samples to detect PRRSV by RT-PCR should not be used as the single method to assess the PRRSV status at the litter level. Furthermore, our findings also highlight potential sources of PRRSV infection for piglets in breeding herds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108406
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Awards Advancing Research in Respiratory Disease from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc , and the Swine Disease Eradication Center of the University of Minnesota . The authors would like to acknowledge My Yang, Alejandro Casanova and Shaoqin Wu for their assistance during sample collection and processing. JS and CV would like to specially acknowledge the role of Robert Morrison as mentor, colleague and friend.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Environment
  • Monitoring
  • Nurse sow
  • Udder


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