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Vet Res. 2006 Nov-Dec;37(6):757-66. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

Transmission of encephalomyocarditis virus in pigs estimated from field data in Belgium by means of R0.

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Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 7, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Transmission of encephalomyocarditis-virus (EMCV) has been estimated in experiments, but never using field data. In this field study, a farm in Belgium was selected where the presence of EMCV was confirmed by necropsy and virus isolation. Serology was used to estimate the transmission parameter R0. In one compartment with 630 pigs, 6 pens were fully sampled, in the remaining 38 pens, 2 randomly selected pigs were bled. The 151 pigs were bled twice and their serum was tested in a virus neutralisation test. Seroprevalence at the first and second sampling was 41 and 43% respectively, with a cut off value of 1:40. R0 was estimated for 2 scenarios, in- and excluding mortality based on the final sizes from the serological results of the second sampling. The R0 for the fully sampled pens was estimated between 0.6 and 1.7, the combined estimated R0 of these 6 pens was 1.36 (95%-CI 0.93-2.23). The median of the estimated R0 of the partially sampled pens was 1.3 and 1.4. Sampling two pigs per pen provided insight into the spread of the virus in the compartment, while the fully sampled pens provided an accurate estimation of R0. The low R0 strongly suggests that EMCV is not very effectively transmitted between pigs. The number of seropositive pigs in a pen and the spread in the compartment suggests that other routes of infection are more important, in this case most likely rodents. Preventing viral spread should therefore be focussed on rodent control instead of reduction of contact between pigs.

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