A descriptive study of acute outbreaks of respiratory disease in Norwegian fattening pig herds
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionActa Veterinaria Scandinavica, 2020, 62, Article number: 35 10.1186/s13028-020-00529-z
Background Respiratory diseases are major health concerns in the pig production sector worldwide, contributing adversely to morbidity and mortality. Over the past years there was a rise in reported incidents of respiratory disease in pigs in Norway, despite population wide freedom from Aujeszky´s disease, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, porcine respiratory corona virus and enzootic pneumonia. The main objective of this study was to investigate acute outbreaks of respiratory disease in conventional Norwegian fattening pig herds. The study included 14 herds. In seven herds with reported outbreaks of acute respiratory disease, data on clinical signs was recorded and samples for laboratory examination were collected. Diagnostic protocols were compared by parallel analysis of clinically healthy pigs from seven non-outbreak herds. Results The most commonly reported clinical signs were sudden deaths and dyspnea. An average compartment morbidity of 60%, mortality of 4% and case fatality of 9% was recorded in the outbreak herds. Post-mortem examinations revealed acute lesions resembling porcine pleuropneumonia in all 28 pigs investigated from the outbreak herds and in 2 of the 24 (8%) pigs from the non-outbreak herds. Chronic lesions were recorded in another 2 pigs (8%) from the non-outbreak herds. Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae serovar 8 was isolated from lungs and/or pleura from all tested pigs (n = 28) in the outbreak herds, and from 2 out of 24 pigs (8%) in the non-outbreak herds, one pig with an acute and another pig with a chronic infection. No other significant bacterial findings were made. Seroconversion to A. pleuropneumoniae antibodies was detectable in all outbreak herds analyzed and in six out of seven non-outbreak herds, but the risk ratio for seroconversion of individual pigs was higher (risk ratio 2.3 [1.50- 3.43 95% CI; P < 0.001]) in the outbreak herds. All herds tested positive for porcine circovirus type 2 and negative for influenza A viruses on oral fluid RT-qPCR. Conclusion The main etiological pathogen found during acute outbreaks of respiratory disease was A. pleuropneumoniae serovar 8. All pigs from outbreak herds had typical lesions of acute porcine pleuropneumonia, and only A. pleuropneumoniae serovar 8 was identified. Co-infections were not found to impact disease development.