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Swine influenza virus infection dynamics in two pig farms; results of a longitudinal assessment

DOI: 10.1186/1297-9716-43-24

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Abstract:

Swine influenza (SI) is caused by Influenzavirus type A. In pigs, the disease is reported to be very similar to human influenza: high fever (40.5-41.7°C), lethargy, coughing and laboured breathing, anorexia and weight loss [1,2]. Sneezing, conjunctivitis, nasal discharge and abortions may also be observed [2]. SI-associated gross lung lesions observed in pigs are mainly those of a viral pneumonia, and are characterized by a broncho-intersticial pneumonia (BIP) [3].Pigs can be infected with avian, swine and human influenza A viruses, and for that reason, swine has been classically proposed to be the mixing vessel where reassortant influenza strains can arise [4,5]. Although this "mixing vessel" concept is now narrower than some years ago, the recent emergence of a human pandemic influenza A virus harbouring genes thought to be originally of swine origin stressed again the interest in the epidemiology of influenza in pigs [6].Traditionally, the entry of a new influenza virus in a herd was considered to cause the appearance of the clinical signs in a high percentage of animals [3]. However, Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) seems to be more widespread in pigs than previously thought [7]. Besides, the fact that the incidence of confirmed clinical outbreaks of influenza in pigs is relatively low suggests that in most cases, infections are of a subclinical nature [8-10]. On the other hand, although the persistence of SIV activity after an acute outbreak has been described [11], and the existence of endemically infected herds has been postulated [3,7], the establishment of endemic infections in swine herds has never been demonstrated. Beyond the picture of a classic epidemic outbreak, there is very little knowledge about the dynamics of SIV within pig farms.The aim of the present study was to assess the dynamics of influenza virus infection in pig farms, through serological and virological follow-ups of two whole batches of pigs from two commercial farrow-to-finish pig farms.Thi

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