SHIC Porcine Kobuvirus Fact Sheet Receives Detailed Update

A major update of the Swine Health Information Center’s (SHIC’s) porcine kobuvirus (PKV) fact sheet has been posted. PKV, originally detected in baby pigs in Hungary in 2008, is an enteric picornavirus found nearly worldwide in both in healthy pigs and pigs with diarrhea. It was first diagnosed in the US in 2013. PKV infection is most often a mild diarrheal disease with piglets of less than four weeks of age most likely to be infected. Prevalence in domestic pigs ranges from 13 to 99%. In China, PKV was implicated as the cause of diarrhea, dehydration, and vomiting in piglets which resulted in morbidity of 80 to 100% and mortality of 50 to 90%, beginning in 2010.  Disease is less common in older animals. The significantly revised PKV fact sheet includes refreshed taxonomy, epidemiology, and diagnostics sections as well as new information on experimental infection. To date, the importance of PKV as a swine pathogen remains unclear.

From the updated fact sheet, “PKV is implicated as a cause of diarrhea in piglets. However, little is known about the pathogenesis of PKV. No treatments or vaccines are available. Additionally, the hardiness of kobuviruses in the environment and their association with foodborne disease warrants further investigation.” One experimental study has confirmed PKV as a cause of diarrhea and pathogenic lesions in piglets. Co-infection with PKV and other enteric pathogens of swine is very common. Transmission is thought to be fecal-oral, though other routes may be possible. Wild boars might be a source of infection for domestic swine.

SHIC reviews and updates Swine Disease Fact Sheets as part of its mission to protect the health of the US swine herd. The information in updated fact sheets provides guidance and resources for producers, practitioners, and diagnosticians who are on the front lines of swine health concerns.

SHIC, launched in 2015 with Pork Checkoff funding, continues to focus efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response to novel and emerging swine disease for the benefit of US swine health. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. SHIC is funded by America’s pork producers to fulfill its mission to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd. For more information, visit http://www.swinehealth.org or contact Dr. Sundberg at psundberg@swinehealth.org.