Experimental Reproduction of Severe Disease in CD/CD Pigs Coinfected with PRRSV and Type 2 Porcine Circovirus

  • P. A. Harms (Iowa State University)
  • S. D. Sorden (Iowa State University)
  • P. G. Halbur (Iowa State University)
  • S. Bolin (Iowa State University)
  • K. Lager (Iowa State University)
  • I. Morozov (Iowa State University)
  • P. S. Paul (Iowa State University)


Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) has been recognized worldwide and is characterized clinically by wasting, dyspnea, and occasionally by icterus in nursery and grow-finish pigs. Type 2 porcine circovirus (PCV2) is consistently demonstrated in PMWS lesions. At the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, both porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and PCV2 are detected in tissues from most cases of PMWS. Since PRRSV-PCV2 coinfection has also been associated with “atypical PRRS” hepatitis, 3 week old cesarean-derived, colostrum-deprived (CD/CD) pigs were inoculated with PRRSV, PCV2, both PRRSV and PCV2, or uninfected cell culture media in order to compare the independent and combined effects of these agents. PRRSV-inoculated pigs developed respiratory distress and interstitial pneumonia typical of that previously reported for this agent. None of the pigs in the PRRSV or control groups became moribund or developed hepatitis.

PCV2-inoculated pigs developed lymphoid depletion and sporadic hepatitis associated with 40% mortality. Pigs in the PRRSV/PCV2 group developed severe and persistent pyrexia and dyspnea; mortality between 10 and 20 days was >90% and was associated with severe interstitial pneumonia and/or hepatitis. We conclude that 1) PCV2 alone can induce clinical disease and lesions of PMWS in CD/CD pigs, 2) PCV2 alone does not induce significant respiratory disease in CD/CD pigs, 3) PCV2/PRRSV coinfection induces more severe clinical disease and lesions of PMWS than PCV2 alone, including severe interstitial pneumonia, and 4) PCV2 coinfection is responsible for the hepatitis associated with cases of “atypical PRRS.” Simultaneous coinfection of PRRSV and PCV2 has the potential to significantly exacerbate morbidity and mortality. The timing of exposure and decay of maternal antibody to PCV2 and other pathogens may play a critical role in determining whether PCV2 infection induces PMWS or remains subclinical.

Keywords: ASL R685

How to Cite:

Harms, P. A., Sorden, S. D., Halbur, P. G., Bolin, S., Lager, K., Morozov, I. & Paul, P. S., (2001) “Experimental Reproduction of Severe Disease in CD/CD Pigs Coinfected with PRRSV and Type 2 Porcine Circovirus”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2001
Peer Reviewed