The spread of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) by genotype and the association between genotype and clinical signs in Ontario, Canada 2004-2007
An investigation of the distribution of porcine reproduction and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and factors associated with the presence of PRRSV in Ontario from 2004 – 2007 was conducted. Surveys on the presence of clinical signs associated with PRRS, management practices, animal suppliers, and herd location were administered to the managers of 458 PRRSV positive herds and 61 PRRSV negative herds. Open reading frame (ORF) 5 of the PRRSV genome was sequenced from herds with PRRSV. PRRSV positive herds were compared to PRRSV negative herds. Management practices associated with being PRRSV positive were: not washing animal- and feed-delivery vehicles, feed-delivery and animal-transport vehicles visiting multiple herds at one time, allowing a truck driver to enter the barn, not requiring visitors to shower prior to farm entry, and not utilizing all-in all-out flow in gilt and finisher barns. Specific PRRSV restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) genotypes of the ORF5 gene were compared with clinical signs. Herds with RFLP type ‘1-undetermined-4’, ‘1-undetermined-2’ and 1-3-4 were associated with clinical signs in sows and 2-6-2 was associated with finisher mortality compared to herds with vaccine virus. Additionally, genotypes 1-3-4 and 1-8-4 increased in frequency during this study. The between-herd PRRSV similarity of genome and clinical signs were compared. Abortions and stillbirths were associated with similarity in genetic sequences between herds. This relationship did not extend to those herds where vaccine virus was identified. Patterns in space and time of herds with different RFLP types of PRRSV were investigated after accounting for ownership. There was weak evidence to suggest local spread the genotype 1-3-4. The association between genetic similarity and proximity in space, time, ownership, animal, and semen suppliers was tested. Significant correlation was detected for distances up to 30 km. After controlling for ownership, only small associations between breeding stock and semen suppliers and genetic similarity of PRRSV were found. The spread of PRRSV among herds in Ontario cannot be attributed to any one factor. However, similarity in ownership between herds was a key variable indicating that movement of animals, personnel, and vehicles among herds must be measured in future investigations of PRRSV dynamics.