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Vet Microbiol. 2011 Dec 15;153(3-4):229-39. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2011.05.038. Epub 2011 May 30.

Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome produced in gnotobiotic pigs following exposure to various amounts of porcine circovirus type 2a or type 2b.

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Virus and Prion Diseases of Livestock Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, IA 50010, USA.


In late 2005, a postweaning, high mortality syndrome spread rapidly through finishing barns in swine dense areas of the United States. Diagnostic investigations consistently detected porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) from diseased tissues. Subsequent genetic analysis revealed that the infectious agent was a PCV2 type termed "PCV2b". Prior to late 2004, only the PCV2a type, but not PCV2b, had been reported in North America. In this communication, we produce severe postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) in gnotobiotic pigs using infectious PCV2a and PCV2b generated from DNA clones constructed from field isolates identified in the 2005 outbreak. Clinical signs exhibited by diseased pigs included anorexia, dyspnea and listlessness. Mortality was typically observed within 12h of onset of dyspnea. The most striking microscopic lesions in affected animals were severe hepatic necrosis and depletion of germinal centers in lymph nodes with associated abundant PCV2 viral antigen. Clinical signs and lesions observed in these studies were comparable to those reported in experiments with gnotobiotic pigs inoculated with a PCV2a isolate while concurrently receiving immune-stimulation or co-infection with porcine parvovirus or torque teno virus. The animals in these studies were confirmed to be free of detectable porcine parvovirus, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, bovine viral diarrhea virus, swine hepatitis E virus, and aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. Seven out of 24 PCV2 inoculated pigs had a detectable congenital torque teno virus infection with no correlation to clinical disease. Thus, in these studies, both PCV2a and PCV2b isolates were singularly capable of inducing high mortality in the absence of any detectable infectious co-factor.

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