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Vet Microbiol. 2014 Jun 4;170(3-4):398-402. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.02.026. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Experimental Schmallenberg virus infection of pigs.

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CODA-CERVA, Coordination of Veterinary Diagnostics Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, Groeselenberg 99, 1180 Brussels, Belgium; CODA-CERVA, Operational Directorate Viral Diseases, Groeselenberg 99, 1180 Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:
CODA-CERVA, Experimental Center, Kerklaan 62, 1830 Machelen, Belgium.
CODA-CERVA, Operational Directorate Viral Diseases, Groeselenberg 99, 1180 Brussels, Belgium.


Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is a newly emerged virus responsible for an acute non-specific syndrome in adult cattle including high fever, decrease in milk production and severe diarrhea. It also causes reproductive problems in cattle, sheep and goat including abortions, stillbirths and malformations. The role of pigs in the epidemiology of SBV has not yet been evaluated while this could be interesting seen their suggested role in the epidemiology of the closely related Akabane virus. To address this issue, four 12 week old seronegative piglets were subcutaneously infected with 1 ml of SBV infectious serum (FLI) and kept into contact with four non-infected piglets to examine direct virus transmission. Throughout the experiment blood, swabs and feces samples were collected and upon euthanasia at 28 dpi different organs (cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, lung, liver, iliac lymph nodes, kidney and spleen) were sampled. No clinical impact was observed and all collected samples tested negative for SBV in rRT-PCR. Despite the absence of viremia and virus transmission, low and short lasting amounts of neutralizing antibodies were found in 2 out of 4 infected piglets. The limited impact of SBV infection in pigs was further supported by the absence of neutralizing anti-SBV antibodies in field collected sera from indoor housed domestic pigs (n=106). In conclusion, SBV infection of pigs can induce seroconversion but is ineffective in terms of virus replication and transmission indicating that pigs have no obvious role in the SBV epidemiology.


Experimental infection; Host range; Pathogenesis; Pig; Schmallenberg virus

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