There seems to be two main types of pathogens that cause diseases in swine: those that are mainly introduced through direct pig contacts, and those that are often, and in some situations mainly introduced by indirect transmission means. In this review, the mange mite (Sarcoptes scabiei), toxigenic Pasteurella multocida and Brachyspira hyodysenteriae will be used as examples of the first type, and foot and mouth disease virus, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus as examples of the second. It is now clear from various epidemiological studies as well as experimental and field data that aerosol transmission of some swine pathogens plays an important role in their epidemiology. As previous biosecurity programs did not take this factor into consideration, it can at least partially explain why many of these programs suffered frequent failures and why air filtration is now becoming increasingly popular in North America. Identifying and quantifying transmission means should be a priority for every important infectious disease for which it has not been done.