Detection of atypical porcine pestivirus in Swedish piglets
Congenital tremor (CT) type A-II is a neurological disorder characterized by tremor of the head and body of newborn piglets. The suggested causative agent of the disease is the recently found atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV). The virus has been detected in piglets suffering from congenital tremor in central Europe, South and North America and in China but no studies has so far been performed in the Nordic countries. The overarching goal of this study was to investigate if APPV is present in the brain tissue of Swedish piglets suffering from congenital tremor.
From June 2017 – June 2018, 15 piglets from four Swedish farms with ongoing outbreaks of congenital tremor and 13 piglets with splay leg originating from four different farms, were investigated for presence of APPV RNA in brain tissue. Matched healthy control piglets (n = 8) were also investigated. Two APPV-specific RT-qPCR methods targeting the NS3 and NS5B region, respectively, were used. A retrospective study was performed on material from Swedish piglets with congenital tremor sampled in 2004 (n = 11) and 2011/2012 (n = 3) using the described APPV-specific RT-qPCR methods. The total number of piglets with signs of CT in this study was 29.
Atypical porcine pestivirus-RNA was detected in 93% (27/29) of the piglets suffering from congenital tremor. All piglets with congenital tremor from 2004 (n = 11) and 2012 (n = 3) were PCR-positive with respect to APPV, whereas, all of the healthy controls (n = 11) were negative. The piglets with congenital tremor sampled 2017–2018 had an odds ratio of 91.8 (95% CI 3.9128 to 2153.7842, z = 2.807, P = 0.0050) to test positive for APPV by qRT-PCR compared to the healthy piglets (Fishers exact test p < 0.0001). These findings make it interesting to continue investigating APPV in the Swedish pig-population.
This is the first description of atypical porcine pestivirus in piglets suffering from congenital tremor type A-II in Sweden and the Nordic countries. The virus has been present in the Swedish pig population since at least 2004.
Link to the publication
Stenberg, H., Jacobson, M., & Malmberg, M. (2020). Detection of atypical porcine pestivirus in Swedish piglets with congenital tremor type A-II. BMC veterinary research, 16(1), 260.