Aerosol Detection and Transmission of PRRSv: What Is the Evidence, and What Are the Knowledge Gaps?

Aerosol transmission of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus is a major issue hog producers have had to deal with for several decades now. It encouraged the development of air filtration systems in farrow-to-wean farms as well as the isolation of high-value genetic lines in remote areas. This new publication, a collaboration between Dr. Arruda at the Ohio State University and Drs. Corzo and Torremorell from the University of Minnesota is a review of our knowledge of how PRRS is transmitted via aerosol.

In this article, aerosol transmission was defined as “the passage of microorganisms directly from an infectious individual to a susceptible receiver through particles expelled through exhaling, sneezing or coughing; or as the transmission of PRRSV from herd to herd by a virus travelling through the air.”

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The major keypoints of this review were that we need more research regarding aerosol particles containing PRRSv and their characteristics making them more of less prone to carry the virus and infect new individuals. Similarly, more information is needed regarding the influence of the virus strain itself on its aerosolization capacity. More studies in different geographical areas within and outside the United States would consolidate the body of evidence regarding PRRS aerosol transmission.

The full article is available in open access on the journal’s website.


In human and veterinary medicine, there have been multiple reports of pathogens being airborne under experimental and field conditions, highlighting the importance of this transmission route. These studies shed light on different aspects related to airborne transmission such as the capability of pathogens becoming airborne, the ability of pathogens to remain infectious while airborne, the role played by environmental conditions in pathogen dissemination, and pathogen strain as an interfering factor in airborne transmission. Data showing that airborne pathogens originating from an infectious individual or population can infect susceptible hosts are scarce, especially under field conditions. Furthermore, even though disease outbreak investigations have generated important information identifying potential ports of entry of pathogens into populations, these investigations do not necessarily yield clear answers on mechanisms by which pathogens have been introduced into populations. In swine, the aerosol transmission route gained popularity during the late 1990’s as suspicions of airborne transmission of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) were growing. Several studies were conducted within the last 15 years contributing to the understanding of this transmission route; however, questions still remain. This paper reviews the current knowledge and identifies knowledge gaps related to PRRSV airborne transmission.

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