Know the Signs! New SHIC Fact Sheet Available on High-Path PRRSV

In 2006, in China, over 2 Million pigs were affected by Highly Pathogenic PRRS Virus. Over 400,000 died. Today, the variant virus continues to plague the area, leaving open the possibility of trans-Pacific introduction into North America. The Swine Health and Information Center (SHIC) announces a new addition to its collection of pathogen fact sheets, Highly Pathogenic Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (HP-PRRSV) ( The fact sheets give details on pathogens featured in SHIC’s Swine Disease Matrix.

Classical PRRS viruses are economically devastating for swine producers in many parts of the world, and new PRRS virus variants—causing higher morbidity and mortality rates—continue to emerge in Asia. Although not currently identified in the United States, Paul Sundberg, Executive Director of SHIC urges producers, veterinarians, and diagnosticians to be vigilant for HP-PRRSV.

He said, “We hope this fact sheet helps make identification of this pathogen quicker should it enter the US. SHIC is also currently funding more research into diagnostics that will help differentiate PRRS viruses from known domestic strains.  We all need to think about strengthening biosecurity and being aware of the possibility of HP-PRRSV’s entry into the U.S. swine herd.”

Identifying and defining risks of pathogen introduction remains a focus of SHIC funded research.  One of the objectives of this research program is to see if or how quickly different viruses, including HP-PRRSV, become inactive in various feed ingredients.  The survivability of the viruses is tested under environmental and time conditions that mimic transportation from China to the central United States.

Sundberg explains, “This study was designed to help us to discover if imported feed ingredients might be a risk factor for the introduction of high-path PRRS and other viruses into the U.S.”

“Via simulation, we’ve verified for the first time the concept of viral pathogens moving from country to country through feed imports from countries of high risk to countries without the disease,” adds Dr. Scott Dee. “Our goal is to raise awareness . . . that if the stars align in the wrong direction, this might happen.”

Created by the Center for Food Security and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, at Iowa State University, the Highly Pathogenic PRRS Virus fact sheet focuses on:

• Etiology
• Cleaning/Disinfecting
• Epidemiology
• Transmission
• Infection/Pathogenesis
• Diagnostics
• Immunity
• Prevention and Control
• Knowledge Gaps

The mission of the Swine Health Information Center is to protect and enhance the health of the United States swine herd through coordinated global disease monitoring, targeted research investments that minimize the impact of future disease threats, and analysis of swine health data. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Sundberg at [email protected].