Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is a small, non-enveloped, circular, single-stranded DNA virus of economic importance in the swine industry worldwide. Based on the sequence analyses of PCV2 strains, isolates can be divided into five subtypes (PCV2a–e). PCV2 is an ubiquitous virus based on serological and viremia data from countries worldwide. In addition, PCV2 DNA was discovered in archived samples prior to the first recognition of clinical disease. Recently, a worldwide shift in PCV2 subtype from PCV2a to PCV2b occurred. PCV2 DNA can be detected in fecal, nasal, oral and tonsillar swabs as well as in urine and feces from both naturally and experimentally infected pigs. PCV2 DNA can be detected early in the infectious process and persists for extended periods of time. The effectiveness of disinfectants for reducing PCV2 in vitro is variable and PCV2 is very stable in the pig environment. Limited data exist on the horizontal transmission of PCV2. Direct transmission of PCV2 between experimentally or naturally infected animals and naïve animals has been documented and the incorporation of clinical or subclinically infected animals into a population represents a risk to the herd. Indirect transmission through the oral, aerosol or vaccine routes is likely a lesser risk for the transmission of PCV2 in most swine populations but may be worth evaluating in high heath herds. The objective of this review was to discuss data on the epidemiology and horizontal transmission of PCV2.
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