Viruses associated with congenital tremor and high lethality in piglets.

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Abstract

The recently described atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV) has been associated with congenital tremor (CT) type A-II in piglets in different countries. Another important neurological pathogen of pigs is porcine teschovirus (PTV), which has been associated with non-suppurative encephalomyelitis in pigs with severe or mild neurological disorders. There have been no reports of APPV and/or PTV coinfection associated with CT or encephalomyelitis in Brazilian pig herds. The aim of this study was to describe the pathological and molecular findings associated with simultaneous infection of APPV and PTV in piglets with clinical manifestations of CT that were derived from a herd with high rates of CT-associated lethality. In 2017, three piglets from the same litter with CT died spontaneously. The principal pathological alterations in all piglets were secondary demyelination and hypomyelination at the cerebellum, brainstem and spinal cord confirmed by histopathology and luxol fast blue-cresyl violet stain. Additional significant pathological findings included multifocal neuronal necrosis, neuronophagia and gliosis found in the cerebral cortex and spinal cord of all piglets, while atrophic enteritis and mesocolonic oedema were observed in some of them. APPV and PTV RNA were detected in the central nervous system of affected piglets, and PTV was also detected in the intestine and faeces. The pathological alterations and molecular findings together suggest a dual infection due to APPV and PTV at this farm. Moreover, the combined effects of these pathogens can be attributed to the elevated piglet mortality, as coinfections involving PTV have a synergistic effect on the affected animals.

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