Date of this Version
In 2007, Vietnam experienced swine disease outbreaks causing clinical signs similar to the ‘porcine high fever disease’ that occurred in China during 2006. Analysis of diagnostic samples from the disease outbreaks in Vietnam identified porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2). Additionally, Escherichia coli and Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus were cultured from lung and spleen, and Streptococcus suis from one spleen sample. Genetic characterization of the Vietnamese PRRSV isolates revealed that this virus belongs to the North American genotype (type 2) with a high nucleotide identity to the recently reported Chinese strains. Amino acid sequence in the nsp2 region revealed 95.7–99.4% identity to Chinese strain HUN4, 68–69% identity to strain VR-2332 and 58–59% identity to strain MN184. A partial deletion in the nsp2 gene was detected; however, this deletion did not appear to enhance the virus pathogenicity in the inoculated pigs. Animal inoculation studies were conducted to determine the pathogenicity of PRRSV and to identify other possible agents present in the original specimens. Pigs inoculated with PRRSV alone and their contacts showed persistent fever, and two of five pigs developed cough, neurological signs and swollen joints. Necropsy examination showed mild to moderate bronchopneumonia, enlarged lymph nodes, fibrinous pericarditis and polyarthritis. PRRSV was re-isolated from blood and tissues of the inoculated and contact pigs. Pigs inoculated with lung and spleen tissue homogenates from sick pigs from Vietnam developed high fever, septicaemia, and died acutely within 72 h, while their contact pigs showed no clinical signs throughout the experiment. Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus was cultured, and PRRSV was re-isolated only from the inoculated pigs. Results suggest that the cause of the swine deaths in Vietnam is a multifactorial syndrome with PRRSV as a major factor.