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Featured diseases


All diseases alphabetically


African swine fever (ASF)

Overview
ASF is caused by the African swine fever virus (ASFV). ASFV infects domestic pigs, warthogs, and bushpigs. Transmission occurs through direct contact between healthy and sick animals, or indirect contact through infected feed, as well as through biological vectors (soft ticks).

Signs
Peracute, acute, subacute, and chronic forms of ASF occur, and mortality rates vary from 0 to 100%, depending on the virulence of the virus that pigs are infected with. Acute disease is characterized by a short incubation period of 3–7 days, followed by high fever (up to 42°C) and death in 5–10 days.

Economic impact
The effect on a swine herd can vary depending on the strain, from near 100% mortality to cases of low-virulence isolates that can be difficult to diagnose. When an outbreak occurs in any region or country, the financial and physical implications can be devastating to the swine industry and those related to it.

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Aujeszky's disease

Overview
Aujeszky’s disease is a contagious viral disease caused by a herpesvirus called Pseudorabies virus (PRV). The most common form is an acute febrile syndrome that mainly affects pigs (the main reservoir for the virus), though many other animal species are also susceptible.

The virus spreads to the airways, nervous system, and in pregnant sows, the fetus. It is widespread throughout the world and its effects have considerable economic impact.

Signs
The clinical picture depends on the infected animal's age and physiological development. In piglets, it causes nervous problems (circling and fits) with death soon ensuing. In growing animals, the main effects are respiratory and gastrointestinal problems with retarded growth. In sows, reproductive problems such as abortion, return to heat, and small litters have been observed. After exposure to the airborne virus, it can remain latent in the body, ready for subsequent reactivation at times of stress or immunosuppression.

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Brachyspirosis

Epidemiology
A motile, spiral-shaped bacterium, is the causative agent of porcine dysentery (also known as haemorrhagic diarrhea or haemorrhagic enteritis). It infects pigs but can also cause transient asymptomatic infection of other animal species such as rats, mice, dogs, and birds if they come into contact with pig feces.

The disease is found in all countries in which pig breeding is developed. It mainly strikes pigs in the fattening stage, although sows and weaned piglets can also show signs. The most common route of contamination is the introduction of an infected animal into a unit, but mice may also play an important role because they can contract the infection from a small inoculum (102 CFU) and then continue excreting the bacterium for six months.

Signs
The main signs of brachyspirosis are diarrhea, weight loss, delayed growth and, in the most severe forms, dehydration.

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Classical swine fever (CSF)

Overview
CSF is considered the second most serious of all contagious diseases of pigs and wild boars, after aphthous fever. It is a major threat to pig production, with serious socioeconomic consequences.

The disease is caused by an enveloped RNA virus of the genus Pestivirus in the Flaviviridae family. CSF cannot be transmitted to humans and manifests in different ways according to the virulence of the infecting virus and the animal's stage of development.

In all cases, laboratory tests (virology and/or serology) are essential to either confirm or rule out suspected CSF.

Signs
A superacute form can cause death within 48 hours with practically no signs, but the more common acute form has an initial phase characterized by high fever (up to 42°C) during which time the animal is lethargic, stops eating, and develops conjunctivitis with a purulent ocular discharge.

The disease also causes gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, hematological imbalance, and neurological disorders. The animal dies within 5–15 days. Some of these signs can be confused with those of many other porcine diseases, which makes CSF difficult to diagnose.

The chronic form of the disease is even more insidious because the signs are mild and infected animals may survive for weeks or months. Moreover, the presence of other concurrent diseases or infections may complicate differential diagnosis.

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Cryptosporidiosis

Overview
Cryptosporidiosis is caused by microscopic intestinal parasites that are excreted through the feces of an infected animal. Found throughout the world, the parasites commonly interact with other enteropathogens to produce diarrhea and intestinal injury in neonatal farm animals such as piglets, kids, lambs, and foals. Studies have shown that concurrent infections with other pathogens such as coronavirus and rotavirus can result in more severe diarrhea.

Transmission of the disease may occur directly from animal to animal, or indirectly from environmental contamination, fecal contamination of the water or feed supply), or human transmission. Infection in calves can be detected as early as 5 days of age, with diarrhea occurring between 5 and 15 days of age. In small ruminants, infection can be associated with severe outbreaks of diarrhea, resulting in high mortality rates in lambs 4–10 days of age, and goat kids 5–21 days of age.

Signs
Signs of cryptosporidiosis can include diarrhea that persists for several days, significant weight loss, emaciation, apathy, anorexia, and dehydration.

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Foot and mouth disease (FMD)

Overview
FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that affects all cloven-hoofed animals and is widespread throughout the world. FMD cannot be differentiated clinically from other vesicular diseases such as swine vesicular disease (SVD). The virus is a member of the genus Apthovirus, of the family Picornaviridae. There are seven serotypes of FMD virus, O, A, C, SAT 1, SAT 2, SAT 3, and Asia 1. Infection with any one serotype does not confer immunity against other serotypes.

Of the domesticated species, cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats are susceptible to FMD.

Signs
Clinical signs of FMD are the appearance of vesicles (small blisters) on the feet, in and around the oral cavity, and on the mammary glands of females. Vesicles can also occur inside the nostrils and at pressure points on the limbs, especially in pigs.

Transmission generally occurs through contact between infected and susceptible animals. The virus can be excreted into the air during the acute phase of infection.

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Hepatitis E virus (HEV)

Overview
HEV belongs to the family Hepeviridae. HEV consists of one serotype that is divided into four genotypes. Only genotypes 3 and 4 have been demonstrated to infect pigs. Genotype 3 represents the most frequently occurring genotype in pigs in industrialized countries.

Infections in pigs are mostly asymptomatic. Pigs excrete the virus through urine and feces. The virus has been shown to accumulate in muscle tissue and several organs in pigs.

Signs
Potential signs include anorexia, asthma, high fever (about 41°C), and significant neurological symptoms.

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Lawsonia intracellularis

Epidemiology
L. intracellularis is an obligate intracellular gram-negative bacillus that is the infectious agent of proliferative enteritis (PE). PE is most common in pigs, but it can also affect horses, dogs, and rabbits. In pigs, PE tends to strike animals of between 6 and 20 weeks of age, but it can also affect younger animals or animals of several years of age.

PE is usually chronic, causing gray diarrhea and retarded growth. Acute forms are sometimes seen, with gastrointestinal bleeding (soft, black stools) followed by death. PE is found in pigs all over the world and has major economic impact.

Signs
PE corresponds to a set of disorders characterized by thickening of the mucosa of the small (and sometimes the large) intestine due to proliferation of gut epithelial cells. The resultant epithelium is immature with no goblet cells, and sometimes shows traumatic mucosal damage.

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Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M.hyo)

Overview
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae occurs worldwide and causes a chronic infectious pneumonia of pigs that is characterized by a persistent dry cough, decreased growth rate, and sporadic respiratory distress. M. hyopneumoniae can be transmitted from dams, cohorts, or exposure to other older pigs, as well as coughing and nose-to-nose contact with infected carriers.

Signs
Coughing is the primary sign of M. hyopneumoniae, and in herds where the disease is endemic, morbidity is high, but mortality rates are typically low.

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Mycobacterium avium

Overview
Mycobacterium avium belongs to the M. avium complex (MAC), which comprises 28 serotypes. Serotypes 1-6, 8-1, and 21 belong to M. avium subsp. avium (MAA), most of which can infect both humans and pigs. MAA infections in pigs are mostly subclinical. The only visible signs are granulomatous lesions that occur in the lymph nodes of most animals.

Currently, diagnosis of MAA infections in pigs is based on palpation and the incision of lymph nodes at slaughter. This traditional method has a disadvantage, as MAA has been isolated from lymph nodes without lesions and these infected animals would thus not be detected. Additionally, infections with non-mycobacterial species such as Rhodococcus equi can induce granulomatous lesions as well and have resulted in misdiagnosed animals. Furthermore, the current detection method is both cumbersome and time consuming.

Risk-based surveillance for MAA, based on serology, can improve MAA control and therefore enhance the health status of the herd with regard to M. avium. With serology testing, MAA infections in herds can be controlled much more efficiently and effectively than with the traditional method.

Signs
Generalized signs include progressive emaciation, lethargy, weakness, anorexia, and a low-grade, fluctuating fever.

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Parvovirosis

Epidemiology
Stillbirth, mummification, embryonic death, and infertility (SMEDI) is a common contagious disease in swine that is found in many countries around the world. It is caused by the single-stranded DNA porcine parvovirus (PPV), which belongs to the Parvoviridae family. The infection starts in one or more fetuses and then spreads inside the uterus to most of the litter, so live piglets can be delivered together with mummified fetuses.

Signs
After infection of a naive pregnant sow, PPV causes reproductive problems with stillbirth, mummification, embryonic death, infertility, irregular return of heat, and small litter size.

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Type 2 porcine circovirus (PCV2)

Epidemiology

PCV2 is a DNA virus classified in the Circovirus genus of the Circoviridae family. This virus is now recognized as the main infectious agent involved in the development of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS). PCV2 is mainly excreted in the feces and urine, but is also found in bronchial and nasal secretions. Its transmission is mainly horizontal through healthy carriers and sick animals.

Signs
The main signs are wasting, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and jaundice, which are often associated with superinfecting bacteria. PMWS strikes weaned piglets between 5 and 18 weeks of age, but reproductive problems—abortion, stillbirth, and premature delivery—have also been observed in sows.

Prevalence and impact on the herd
PMWS is found throughout the world (many countries in Europe, North America, and Asia) and causes heavy economic losses because of its impact on breeding performance.

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Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED)

Overview

Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus is most prevalent in China and European countries, and was diagnosed for the first time in the United States in April, 2013. The disease occurs only in pigs and is caused by a coronavirus that is similar to that which causes transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE). The virus damages the villi in the gut of the animal, producing acute and severe diarrhea outbreaks that are quickly transmitted across pigs of all ages. In susceptible populations, acute outbreaks of diarrhea may affect up to 100% of sows, and can result in two clinical scenarios: PED Type I, which affects growing pigs, and PED Type II, which affects animals of all ages from suckling pigs to mature sows. Diarrhea may persist for up to 14 days and may contribute to mortality rates of 60–100% in suckling pigs.

Transmission occurs primarily by direct fecal-oral route, and no vector or reservoir has been implicated in its spread. There is also the potential for the disease to be transmitted indirectly though clothing, personnel, or transportation vehicles.

Signs
Clinical signs of PED closely resemble a TGE outbreak and typically include watery diarrhea in pigs, as well as vomiting, fever, colic, and death depending upon the age of the animal. PED will usually spread more slowly within farms than TGE, and the disease is associated with a longer incubation period of 3–4 days. While PED and TGE are caused by similar coronaviruses, cross immunity is not provided with infection of either virus.

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Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS)

Overview
PRRS is a highly contagious disease found in swine (pigs and wild boars). It is caused by a virus belonging to the Arterivirus family that also contains the causative agents of equine arteritis and simian hemorrhagic fever. The PRRS virus is a small (50–60 nm), enveloped RNA virus with at least two different membrane proteins at its surface, which are probably the antigens that elicit the serological responses detected in infected pigs.

The PRRS virus has immunosuppressive activity and kills the macrophages in the lung, inside which it replicates. This probably helps compromise pulmonary resistance to other infectious viruses and bacteria. Viral particles are secreted in all bodily secretions, including nasal secretions, feces, and sperm, as well as in aborted fetal tissue and placenta. This disease is spread throughout the world and affects domesticated pigs in particular.

Signs
The virus causes respiratory and influenza-like symptoms as well as fertility problems, abortion, and the birth of runts.

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Rotavirus

Overview
Rotaviruses affect swine populations worldwide, causing diarrhea in nursing and post-weaned pigs that can result in high morbidity and low mortality if the diarrhea is not complicated by other health factors. Combined infection with other diarrheal diseases such as transmissible gastroenteritis or salmonellosis can cause more extreme clinical signs and higher mortality rates.

Rotaviruses are differentiated by seven antigenically distinct serogroups (A, B, C, D, E, F, G), four of which (A, B, C, E) directly affect swine. While type A is the most well-known and prevalent of the serogroups, type C has also been associated with outbreaks. Rotaviruses most likely circulate constantly within large swine herds, where young pigs are exposed to the disease through their contaminated environment or the virus shed from infected carriers.

The rotavirus is transmitted through the fecal–oral route, and once ingested, the virus travels to the small intestine, where it damages epithelial cells that reside on the tips of villi, resulting in villous atrophy.

Signs
The primary sign of rotavirus is white-to-yellow colored diarrhea that typically continues for several days until a pig develops an active immunity. Additional signs may include moderate dehydration and vomiting. Morbidity varies and mortality rates are typically low in the presence of good husbandry and housing conditions, but those rates may increase if poor husbandry, exposure to cold, or concurrent disease is involved.

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Salmonellosis

Overview
Salmonellosis is an infection caused by Salmonella bacteria. The presence of salmonellosis has been identified in countries throughout the world, but appears to be most prevalent in areas of intensive animal husbandry, especially occurring in pigs, calves, and some types of poultry.

The disease can affect all domestic animals; however, young animals and pregnant or lactating animals are the most susceptible to the disease. The clinical signs that may be seen are abortion, arthritis, respiratory disease, and acute septicemia. Enteric disease, often presenting as a bloody, watery diarrhea with pyrexia, is the most common clinical manifestation.

Many animals, especially pigs, cattle, and poultry, may also be infected but show no clinical illness. Such animals may be important in relation to the spread of infection between flocks and herds and also as a source of food contamination and human infection.

Signs
Typical clinical signs can include fever and severe watery diarrhea with subsequent rapid onset of dehydration. The diarrhea is usually putrid and may contain blood and mucus. Salmonellae produce toxins that can contribute to gut damage and have systemic effects. If sufficient damage occurs to the intestinal lining, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream, resulting in septicemia, and the bacteria can spread to the brain, lungs, joints, uterus (causing abortion in pregnant cows), and other organs.

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Swine Delta Coronavirus

Overview
Swine delta coronavirus (SDCoV) is a new virus first found in pigs in Hong Kong in 2012. The second report of this virus was in the United States in February, 2014.

SDCoV is from the same family of viruses as the swine diseases porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) and transmissible gastro enteritis (TGE). The virus damages the villi in the gut and thus reduces the surface capable of absorbing, resulting in fluid loss and dehydration. Colostrum immunity protects piglets.

Signs
PEDV, TGEV, and SDCoV cause acute and contagious enteric diseases in swine that are characterized by diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. SDCoV infection is clinically similar to, but distinct from PED and TGE. It causes diarrhea and vomiting in all age groups and mortality in nursing pigs, but mortality rates appear to be lower than in cases of PED.

The viruses can be easily spread through exposure to contaminated vomit and diarrhea in the environment, so helping to control biosecurity by testing environmental samples from barns and transport vehicles will increase the prevention of disease outbreaks on farms.

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Swine influenza

Epidemiology
Swine influenza is a highly contagious viral infection of pigs. The infection is transmitted when an animal comes into contact with secretions containing viral particles, notably in aerosols generated by coughing, sneezing, and the projection of nasal discharges.

Signs
Swine influenza virus (SIV) causes a respiratory disease characterized by coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, high rectal temperature, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and loss of appetite. In some cases, SIV infection can cause reproductive problems and abortion.

Signs and nasal excretion of the virus can begin within 24 hours of infection. Although mortality tends to be low, morbidity can reach 100% and secondary bacterial superinfection can exacerbate the signs of SIV infection.

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Swine vesicular disease (SVD)

Overview
SVD is a highly contagious disease of pigs and the virus causing it (SVDV) is part of the Enterovirus genus in the family Picornaviridae. Although symptoms of the disease are often mild, it is an Office International des Epizooties (OIE) list A disease, as it is clinically indistinguishable from foot and mouth disease (FMD). For this reason, outbreaks of SVD are assumed to be FMD until laboratory diagnosis proves otherwise.

The virus may be spread into the environment through excretions from the nose and mouth and may also be found in the feces.

Signs
SVD is typically characterized by the presence of vesicles on the coronary bands, heels of the feet, and occasionally on the lips, tongue, snout, and teats of infected animals.

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Toxoplasmosis

Overview
Toxoplasmosis is caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which belongs to the family of the Sarcocystiidae. Toxoplasma infections are widespread in humans and many other species of warm-blooded animals, including pigs, sheep, and goats. Occurrence is worldwide; however, the prevalence in human and animal populations varies greatly among countries.

Infection occurs as a result of consuming raw or undercooked meat that contains tissue cysts and tachyzoites, or by food or water contaminated with oocysts. Toxoplasma-infected meat and meat products are considered to be an important source for human infection.

Signs
Most swine infections are subclinical, but toxoplasmosis can cause clinical signs in pigs of all ages. Clinical toxoplasmosis has been reported most often in nursing pigs. Infected pigs are born dead, sick, or become sick within 3 weeks after birth; some remain clinically normal. Labored respiration is the most common clinical sign of toxoplasmosis. Other clinical signs include fever, general weakness, diarrhea, nervous signs, and rarely, loss of vision.

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Transmissible gastroenteritis

Overview
TGE destroys villous epithelial cells within the small intestine of swine, resulting in villous atrophy, malabsorption, diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. The incubation period is approximately 18 hours, and the infection is capable of spreading rapidly through contact or aerosol exposure.

Because of the causative virus’s ability to persist in colder temperatures, severe epidemics are common during the winter.

Signs
The clinical signs of TGE can include vomiting, profuse diarrhea, dehydration, and excessive thirst. In piglets that are less than 1 week old, mortality is nearly 100%, whereas pigs older than 1 month seldom die from the disease. Gestating sows often exhibit vomiting and diarrhea, and may occasionally abort.

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Trichinellosis

Overview
Trichinellosis is a zoonotic disease that occurs worldwide and is caused by the nematode Trichinella. The roundworm Trichinella spp. infects many carnivorous and omnivorous animal species, including domestic pigs. Currently, 11 different subspecies have been recognized in this genus. The species that are of main importance in Europe are Trichinella spiralis, Trichinella britovi, Trichinella pseudospiralis, and Trichinella nativa. T. spiralis is of main concern because domestic pigs show a high susceptibility to this genotype. T. britovi is mostly found in wildlife.

T. pseudospiralis is a nonencapsulating species, meaning that it does not form the characteristic capsule of other species (e.g., T. spiralis). Another characteristic of T. pseudospiralis is that it can also infect birds. T. nativa is commonly found in wildlife, is a cold climate–adapted species, and is resistant to freezing. The worm can infect any species of mammal that consumes its encysted larval stages.

In the European Union, trichinellosis is commonly detected in areas of traditional agriculture where pigs are reared in small holdings with insufficient control measures. Occasionally, cases can also occur in holdings with good farm management practices in place.

Signs
Most infections in domestic and wild animals go undiagnosed. Although antemortem diagnosis in animals other than people is rare, trichinellosis may be suspected if there is a history of eating rodents, wildlife carcasses, or raw infected meat.

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