Investigation of Senecavirus A pathogenesis in finishing pigs

Dr. Fabio Vannucci, a University of Minnesota swine pathologist and his graduate student Dr. Talita Resende collaborated with a team from South Dakota State University to study the pathogenesis of Senecavirus A in finishing pigs. The results of their experiments were published online a few weeks ago in the Journal of General Virology and the printed version should be following shortly.

The importance of Senecavirus A in swine production resides in a striking resemblance in clinical signs with Food and Mouth Disease. Indeed, Senecavirus A causes vesicular lesions around the mouth and on the feet of pigs.

The collaborative work showed that Senecavirus A viremia occurred between 3 to 10 days post-inoculation (dpi), and that the neutralizing antibody response started 5 dpi. Clinical signs first observed 4dpi, lasted up to 10 days.
This study advances our understanding of Senecavirus A pathogenesis to hopefully be able to better manage it in the future.


Abstract: Senecavirus A (SVA) is an emerging picornavirus that has been recently associated with vesicular disease and neonatal mortality in swine. Many aspects of SVA infection biology and pathogenesis, however, remain unknown. Here the pathogenesis of SVA was investigated in finishing pigs. Animals were inoculated via the oronasal route with a contemporary SVA strain SD15-26 and monitored for clinical signs and lesions associated with SVA infection. Viremia was assessed in serum and virus shedding monitored in oral and nasal secretions and feces by real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-qPCR) and/or virus isolation. Additionally, viral load and tissue distribution were assessed during acute infection and following convalescence from disease. Clinical signs characterized by lethargy and lameness were first observed on day 4 pi and persisted for ~2-10 days. Vesicular lesions were observed on the snout and feet, affecting the coronary bands, dewclaws, interdigital space and heel/sole of SVA-infected animals. A short-term viremia was detected between days 3-10 post-inoculation (pi), whereas virus shedding was detected between days 1-28 pi in oral and nasal secretions and feces. Notably, RT-qPCR and in situ hybridization (ISH) performed on tissues collected on day 38 pi revealed the presence of SVA RNA in the tonsil of all SVA infected animals. Serological responses to SVA were characterized by early neutralizing antibody responses (5 days pi), which coincided with a progressive decrease in the levels of viremia, virus shedding and viral load in tissues. This study provides significant insights on the pathogenesis and infectious dynamics of SVA in swine.

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Airborne transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza during the 2015 outbreak in the Midwest

In 2015, the Midwestern part of the United States was the theater of an outbreak of a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza. Drs. Torremorell, Alonso and Davies from the University of Minnesota were involved during the epidemic and just published in Avian Diseases and their findings concerning the airborne transmission of the virus were just published in Avian Diseases.

The study showed that the air exhausted from an infected poultry facility was a source of contamination for the environment but also a risk of transmission for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) that needs to be seriously taken into consideration. Indeed, live and infectious virus was found at a distance up to 70m (76.5 yards) from the farm facilities.


Abstract: We investigated the plausibility of aerosol transmission of H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus during the 2015 spring outbreaks that occurred in the U.S. midwest. Air samples were collected inside and outside of infected turkey and layer facilities. Samples were tested to assess HPAI virus concentration (RNA copies/m3 of air), virus viability, and virus distribution by particle size. HPAI virus RNA was detected inside and up to 1000 m from infected facilities. HPAI virus was isolated from air samples collected inside, immediately outside, up to 70 m from infected facilities, and in aerosol particles larger than 2.1 lm. Direct exposure to exhausted aerosols proved to be a significant source of environmental contamination. These findings demonstrate HPAI virus aerosolization from infected flocks, and that both the transport of infectious aerosolized particles and the deposition of particles on surfaces around infected premises represent a potential risk for the spread of HPAI.

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Effect of electrostatic particle ionization technology on swine airborne pathogens

Dr. Alonso who just graduated from her PhD at the University of Minnesota, published in collaboration with Drs. Davies, Morrison and Torremorell an article evaluating the electrostatic particle ionization (EPI) technology as a technique to reduce  particle load in the air. The results showed that EPI was the most efficient when the system was close to the particle source and when the particle size was between 3.3 and 9 μm no matter what swine pathogen was evaluated. This technique could be promising in decreasing the risk of disease transmission between swine facilities.

Alonso ionization technology 2016

Abstract Influenza A virus (IAV), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and Staphylococcus aureus are important swine pathogens capable of being transmitted via aerosols. The electrostatic particle ionization system (EPI) consists of a conductive line that emits negative ions that charge particles electrically resulting in the settling of airborne particles onto surface s and potentially decreasing the risk of pathogen dissemination. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of the EPI system on the quantity and viability of IAV, PRRSV, PEDV and S. aureus in experimentally generated aerosols and in aerosols generated by infected animals. Efficiency at removing airborne particles was evaluated as a function of particle size (ranging from 0.4 to 10 μm), distance from the source of ions (1, 2 and 3 m) and relative air humidity (RH 30 vs. 70 %). Aerosols were sampled with the EPI system ‘‘off’ and ‘on.’ Removal efficiency was significantly greater for all pathogens when the EPI line was the closest to the source of aerosols. There was a greater reduction for larger particles ranging between 3.3 and 9 μm, which varied by pathogen. Overall airborne pathogen reduction ranged between 0.5 and 1.9 logs. Viable pathogens were detected with the EPI system ‘‘on,’ but there was a trend to reducing the quantity of viable PRRSV and IAV. There was not a significant effect on the pathogens removal efficiency based on the RH conditions tested. In summary, distance to the source of ions, type of pathogen and particle size influenced the removal efficiency of the EPI system. The reduction in inf ectious agents in the air by the EPI technology could potentially decrease the microbial exposure for pigs and people in confinement livestock facilities.

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What is the antimicrobial susceptibility of US Brachyspira species?

To answer this question, Drs. Mirajkar, Davies, and Gebhart from the University of Minnesota, collected a total of 124 field isolates originating from all over the country. In this study, four different Brachyspira species were evaluated for their susceptibility against the main antimicrobial medicines used in swine production. Overall the US isolates had the tendency to be less resistant to antimicrobials than were isolates from other countries. However, low susceptibility to lincomycin and to tylosin were noted in the domestic strains. Lastly, the authors raised the question of the lack of  Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute-approved clinical breakpoints for Brachyspira species which, by categorizing an isolate as sensitive, intermediate, or resistant, would be a tremendous help in determining the best treatment and control strategies at the farm level .

Mirajkar antimicrobial susceptibility brachyspira

Abstract: Outbreaks of swine dysentery, caused by Brachyspira hyodysenteriae and the recently discovered “Brachyspira hampsonii,” have reoccurred in North American swine herds since the late 2000s. Additionally, multiple Brachyspira species have been increasingly isolated by North American diagnostic laboratories. In Europe, the reliance on antimicrobial therapy for control of swine dysentery has been followed by reports of antimicrobial resistance over time. The objectives of our study were to determine the antimicrobial susceptibility trends of four Brachyspira species originating from U.S. swine herds and to investigate their associations with the bacterial species, genotypes, and epidemiological origins of the isolates. We evaluated the susceptibility of B. hyodysenteriae, B. hampsonii, Brachyspira pilosicoli, and Brachyspira murdochii to tiamulin, valnemulin, doxycycline, lincomycin, and tylosin by broth microdilution and that to carbadox by agar dilution. In general, Brachyspira species showed high susceptibility to tiamulin, valnemulin, and carbadox, heterogeneous susceptibility to doxycycline, and low susceptibility to lincomycin and tylosin. A trend of decreasing antimicrobial susceptibility by species was observed (B. hampsonii > B. hyodysenteriae > B. murdochii > B. pilosicoli). In general, Brachyspira isolates from the United States were more susceptible to these antimicrobials than were isolates from other countries. Decreased antimicrobial susceptibility was associated with the genotype, stage of production, and production system from which the isolate originated, which highlights the roles of biosecurity and husbandry in disease prevention and control. Finally, this study also highlights the urgent need for Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute-approved clinical breakpoints for Brachyspira species, to facilitate informed therapeutic and control strategies.

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Effect of different treatments on the inactivation of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) in swine feed

Last Friday, a team of UMN swine nutritionists and veterinarians published the results of their research on the effect of thermal treatments and additives on the inactivation and survival of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) in swine feed. They concluded that both the addition of feed additives and thermal treatments decreased PEDv load in the feed.


Fig 1. Inactivation of PEDV in complete feed when exposed to thermal processing.
The inactivation curves determined by the Weibull model for the survival of PEDV in complete feed at 120°C, 130°C, 140°C, and 145°C.


Abstract: Infection with porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) causes diarrhea, vomiting, and high mortality in suckling pigs. Contaminated feed has been suggested as a vehicle of transmission for PEDV. The objective of this study was to compare thermal and electron beam processing, and the inclusion of feed additives on the inactivation of PEDV in feed. Feed samples were spiked with PEDV and then heated to 120–145°C for up to 30 min or irradiated at 0–50 kGy. Another set of feed samples spiked with PEDV and mixed with Ultracid P (Nutriad), Activate DA (Novus International), KEM-GEST (Kemin Agrifood), Acid Booster (Agri-Nutrition), sugar or salt was incubated at room temperature (~25°C) for up to 21 days. At the end of incubation, the virus titers were determined by inoculation of Vero-81 cells and the virus inactivation kinetics were modeled using the Weibull distribution model. The Weibull kinetic parameter delta represented the time or eBeam dose required to reduce virus concentration by 1 log. For thermal processing, delta values ranged from 16.52 min at 120°C to 1.30 min at 145°C. For eBeam processing, a target dose of 50 kGy reduced PEDV concentration by 3 log. All additives tested were effective in reducing the survival of PEDV when compared with the control sample (delta = 17.23 days). Activate DA (0.81) and KEM-GEST (3.28) produced the fastest inactivation. In conclusion, heating swine feed at temperatures over 130°C or eBeam processing of feed with a dose over 50 kGy are effective processing steps to reduce PEDV survival. Additionally, the inclusion of selected additives can decrease PEDV survivability.

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