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Neurological disease in pigs linked to Sapelovirus

An outbreak of a severe, atypical neurologic disease in 11-week-old pigs has been linked to a novel sapelovirus and may be the first case of its kind in the US, according to a recently published report.1

The animals were from a finishing operation in the southern US that had about 3,000 pigs.

Clinical signs of disease varied but included decreased water and feed consumption, incoordination, mental dullness, muscle weakness, paralysis and decreased responsiveness to environmental stimuli. The overall morbidity was 20% and the case fatality rate was 30%, reported Paulo Arruda, DVM, PhD, a pathologist at Iowa State University’s diagnostic laboratory, and colleagues.

Histopathologic examination revealed severe necrotizing polioencephalomyelitis — a viral infection of the brain. The only pathogen that could be found was porcine sapelovirus (PSV), which was identified in the spinal cord by polymerase chain reaction. The PSV had genetic similarities to a recently reported sapelovirus from Korea, Arruda and colleagues report.

“This is the first case report in the US associating sapelovirus with severe polioencephalomyeliltis in pigs,” they reported in the February 2017 online version of Transboundary and Emerging Diseases.






1. Arruda PHE, Arruda BL, Schwartz KJ, et al. Detection of a novel sapelovirus in central nervous tissue of pigs with polioencephalomyelitis in the USA. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2017;00:1–5.






Posted on May 31, 2017

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It’s not unrealistic to say that if you checked the nasal cavities or tonsils of any group of pigs, you would find Strep suis. While the strain and impact can vary widely, this commensal bacterium is on virtually every hog farm.

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