SHIC Funded Study Examines Role of Porcine Astrovirus 4 in Causing Respiratory Disease in Pigs

Farmscape for February 28, 2024

Full Interview 6:01 Listen

A Swine Health Information Center funded study is investigating porcine astrovirus 4 as a potential emerging cause of respiratory disease in pigs. Porcine astrovirus is a non-enveloped RNA virus with five distinct lineages that has been associated with diarrhea in pigs. The Swine Health Information Center has funded a series of studies to investigate porcine astrovirus 4 as an emerging pathogen capable of causing respiratory illness in pigs. SHIC Associate Director Dr. Lisa Becton says if this emerging virus is a cause of clinical disease in swine it will be important to have rapid and accurate diagnosis.

Quote-Dr. Lisa Becton-Swine Health Information Center:
Back in 2022 SHIC had funded a study to look at astrovirus and to see in case submissions what was the status of astrovirus detection.
This was a retrospective study really looking in the past and they looked at cases to see if there was microscopic lesions of astrovirus and there were in about 73 percent of the cases submitted or 85 out of 117 that were evaluated and they did see evidence of viral disease or respiratory disease in swine.

The key findings of the retrospective study did show that there was evidence of viral respiratory disease and also porcine astrovirus was detected in those cases however it doesn’t answer the complete question of is astrovirus 4 a primary pathogen capable of causing respiratory disease in swine? So, the previous study really does help lead to the current study to detect does it truly cause primary disease? And so that study led to the current study of looking at naive populations of pigs exposed to astrovirus and then characterise what that subsequent infection would look like.

Dr. Becton says information gathered through this work will be shared as soon as it becomes available with the goal of being able to accurately and rapidly detect this emerging disease threat. Details can be found at

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