Implementation of PRRSV status classification system in swine breeding herds from a large integrated group in Spain

Ramirez, Alejandro
Torrents, D.
Miranda, J.
Pedrazuela, R.
Linhares, Daniel
Gauger, Phillip
Ramirez, Alejandro
Linhares, Daniel
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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine

Background: Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is an endemic swine disease causing significant productive and economic losses. Knowledge of PRRS epidemiology is crucial to develop control strategies against this disease. In that regard, classifying farms according to PRRS virus (PRRSV) shedding and exposure, and understanding key drivers of change in status over time, provides great applied knowledge for developing disease control programs. In most European countries, PRRSV monitoring is performed most frequently at the individual farm level although criteria selected for monitoring varies among different regions and farms. The aim of this study was to implement a systematic monitoring program for PRRSV in Spanish sow farms. Breeding herds were classified according to a standardized PRRSV infection status using sampling programs and terminology currently adopted in the United States (US), which allowed an evaluation of PRRSV epidemiology in a large integrated Spanish group during a one-year study period (February 2017–March 2018).

Results: Fifteen farms achieved a stable PRRSV status after the first 4 consecutive samplings and 20 farms were classified as unstable. One of the farms maintained a stable status throughout the duration of the whole monitoring period.

Among the 20 farms classified as unstable at the beginning of the monitoring protocol, 9 farms (45%) never reached the stable status and 11 farms (55%) reached stable status afterwards during the monitoring study period.

From PRRSV PCR positive pools, there were 47 different PRRSV nucleotide sequences from 24 different farms. More than one PRRSV sequence was obtained from 15 farms. In the farms with more than one sequence detected, we observed recirculation of the same PRRSV field strain in 7 farms and introduction of a different PRRSV strain in 5 farms and both events in 3 farms.

Conclusions: Systematic monitoring for PRRSV in breeding herds established a basis of knowledge of PRRSV epidemiology at the farm level and provided key data to classify farms according to PRRSV exposure and shedding status. These data allow further evaluation of the impact of the PRRSV farm status on production and economic performance in breeding herds and additional investigation of factors related to PRRSV epidemiology.


This article is published as Torrents, D., J. Miranda, R. Pedrazuela, P. C. Gauger, A. Ramirez, and D. C. L. Linhares. "Implementation of PRRSV status classification system in swine breeding herds from a large integrated group in Spain." Porcine Health Management 5 (2019): 26. DOI: 10.1186/s40813-019-0134-9. Posted with permission.