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Pseudorabies (PRV) is a highly contagious infectious disease of swine caused by a herpes virus. As the only primary hosts, swine can contract the disease, recover, and remain carriers.
Carrier animals with PRV do not shed the virus on a continual or daily basis. Once the acute infection is over, the virus becomes dormant within the body. The carrier animal may never again shed the virus or may shed virus when the animal is stressed, i.e., chilling, moving, breeding, farrowing, or any other type of stress. That is why herd cleanup plans must address all factors that cause stress.
Other species of animals are considered dead-end hosts, that is, if they become infected they die.
|Species||Resistance to Infection||Outcome of Infection|
|cattle||moderate||fatal (with exceptions)|
Outside of a host animal's body, the virus is very susceptible to the elements. PRV cannot live long without some degree of protection. The virus moves within the herd through direct animal-to-animal contact, or indirectly via respiratory excretions. Snotty nasal discharge can stick to panels, workers' clothing, feed, bedding, boots, trucks, and other equipment. Non-infected hogs can pick up the disease after contacting such contaminated items.
Research at Iowa State University on the environmental survivability of the PRV virus shows:
Under optimal pH and temperature conditions, some virus particles may survive as long as 40 days to 120 days. However, these conditions are unlikely to exist.
Management procedures that revolve around sound biosecurity practices are very important in all disease control programs. Maintaining a strict biosecurity program is the best way producers can protect their investments in livestock.
At a minimum, every swine operation should:
For more information on improving biosecurity, check out Don't Track It Back!
More information about PRV and herd cleanup plans is available from the Indiana State Board of Animal Health's Swine Division at 317/544-2395 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.