Brent Jones from South West Ontario Veterinary Services, Rotavirus C and Gilt Lactogenic Immunity


Rotavirus C (RVC) has been detected increasingly in humans and swine in different countries. RVC was first detected in a 27-day-old piglet with diarrhea from a herd in Ohio in 1980. RVC can cause significant economic losses due to diarrheal disease in nursing piglets.  Although RVC was initially thought to cause only sporadic diarrhea outbreaks in swine, recent studies have shown that the prevalence of RVC is much higher than previously estimated. In a study of US and Canadian diagnostic samples , Marthaler et al detected RVC RNA in 46% of all tested diagnostic samples showing that the infection is quite widespread. The detection rate in very young pigs (≤3 days old) was 78%. These researchers fro The Ohio State wanted to determine the prevalence of RVC in healthy and diarrheic suckling piglets on US farms and to evaluate if maternal antibody (Ab) levels were associated with protection of newborn suckling piglets against RVC.

The researchers found the following:

  • a significantly higher prevalence (p = 0.0002) of litters with diarrhea born to gilts compared with those born to multiparous sows.
  • 76.1% of nursing piglet fecal samples were RVC RNA positive.
  • fecal RVC RNA was detected in significantly (p = 0.0419) higher quantities and more frequently in piglets with diarrhea compared with healthy ones (82.5 vs. 69.9%).
  • sows with diarrheic litters had significantly lower RVC IgA and IgG Ab titers in milk compared to those with healthy litters.

Take Home Messages:

  • Rotavirus C infection is widespread in young suckling pigs and this is especially true of piglets three days of age or less.
  • Lactogenic protection provided by gilts plays a key role in the prevalence of clinical RVC disease.

Submitted by Brent Jones DVM

Ref:  Chepngeno J, Diaz A, Paim FC, Saif LJ, Vlasova AN.  Rotavirus C: prevalence in suckling piglets and development of virus-like particles to assess the influence of maternal immunity on the disease development.  Vet Res. 2019 Oct 22;50(1):84. doi: 10.1186/s13567-019-0705-4.



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