Duration of infection and proportion of pigs persistently infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus

Robert W. Wills, Alan R. Doster, Judith A. Galeota, Jung Hyang Sur, Fernando A. Osorio

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118 Scopus citations


Understanding the dynamics of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) persistence in individual pigs is essential to the development of successful control programs. The objectives of this study were to investigate the proportion of inoculated pigs that become persistently infected with PRRSV and the duration of their infection. Additionally, different diagnostic techniques that detect persistent infections were compared. Twenty-eight 35-day-old pigs were inoculated with PRRSV. Serum and tonsil biopsy samples were collected on days 0, 7, 14, and 28 and then approximately monthly thereafter until day 251 postinoculation (p.i.). Tonsil, lymph node, and lung samples were collected following euthanasia on day 251 p.i. Virus was isolated from serum and tonsil biopsy samples that had been collected through days 28 and 56 p.i., respectively. Viral RNA was detected by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR in serum and tonsil biopsy samples that had been collected through day 251 p.i., although no serum samples collected from days 84 to 196 p.i. were positive and the presence of infectious PRRSV was not detected by swine bioassay of tissue samples collected at necropsy. The results confirmed that RT-PCR is more sensitive than virus isolation in identifying PRRSV-infected pigs. Six pigs that were persistently infected through days 225 or 251 p.i. remained seropositive throughout the study, although one pig had an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay sample-to-positive ratio that was only slightly above the cutoff value of 0.40. Twenty of 28 tonsil biopsy samples collected on day 84 p.i. were positive by RT-PCR compared to only 1 positive biopsy sample out of 28 collected on day 119 p.i. The study's results indicate that most pigs clear PRRSV within 3 to 4 months, but that some may remain persistently infected for several months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-62
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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