Porcine Astrovirus Linked to Respiratory Disease in Pigs

Farmscape for June 22, 2023

Full Interview 11:10 Listen

Research conducted by the Iowa State University Diagnostic lab has linked porcine astrovirus to respiratory disease in pigs.
A Swine Health Information Center funded study conducted by the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab has identified the first association of astrovirus with respiratory pathology in pigs. Swine Health Information Center Associate Director Dr. Megan Niederwerder says the study was conducted in response to pigs presented to the diagnostic lab with clinical signs of respiratory disease consistent with influenza A virus that tested negative for that virus.

Quote-Dr. Megan Niederwerder-Swine Health Information Center:
They were able to evaluate 117 cases that fit that diagnostic description and within those 117 cases of tissues they found that 85 of those, or 73 percent, had porcine astrovirus type 4 detectable in the lesions. This was really the first time that porcine astrovirus was reported to be associated with the lesions causing respiratory disease. This was significant because porcine astrovirus is typically thought about as a neurologic causing virus in pigs or a gastrointestinal causing disease agent in pigs. This opens up a new line of investigation so that we can further understand how widespread porcine astrovirus is and how much of it is impacting or causing respiratory disease across the swine industry.

Dr. Niederwerder encourages producers and veterinarians to think about these findings when a lesser-know virus is associated with respiratory disease and clinical signs seem consistent with influenza A. She says, when samples end up negative for influenza A, it’s important to consider how much these lesser-known viruses might be contributing to respiratory disease and possible control strategies.

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