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Keywords:

  • PRRS;
  • highly virulent PRRSV;
  • arteriviruses;
  • nidoviruses;
  • NSP2;
  • high fever disease

Summary

A highly pathogenic pig disease emerged in China in 2006, which was characterized by prolonged high fever, red discoloration of the body, and blue ears associated with high mortality. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) was isolated as the single most prominent virus in the samples collected from affected pigs. The full-length genomic sequence of the virus revealed two distinct deletions in the non-structural protein 2 (NSP2) in comparison to all previously reported North American genotype PRRSV. Through extensive surveys in 14 different provinces, 56 additional PRRSV isolates were obtained from affected farms. All of the isolates were found to contain identical deletions in NSP2. To confirm the etiology, eight 60-day-old PRRSV-free pigs were divided into two groups and the test group was intranasally infected at a titer of 2 × 105.0 tissue culture infectious dose 50 per pig. The inoculated pigs all died at 7, 8, 12, 16, or 21 days post-inoculation with their clinical and pathological findings similar to those in the field. The viruses recovered from dead pigs were identical to the inoculated virus in NSP2 and GP5 genes. Our study shows that the recently emerged PRRSV in China is characterized by two discontiguous deletions in NSP2 and is the cause for the current epizootics in China.