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Stadler, Julia; Moser, Lisa; Numberger, Jasmin; Rieger, Anna; Strutzberg-Minder, Katrin; Stellberger, Thorsten; Ladinig, Andrea; Ritzmann, Mathias and Fux, Robert (2018): Investigation of three outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea in Germany in 2016 demonstrates age dependent differences in the development of humoral immune response. In: Preventive Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 150: pp. 93-100

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Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) has reemerged in Europe since 2014. Characterized by a rapid onset of diarrhea in pigs of all ages, morbidity can reach up to 100% whereas mortality is variable. The virus strains involved in the recent European outbreaks all cluster together with US strains (S INDEL) that lead to less severe clinical signs. In this study, fattening pigs and suckling piglets (n = 105) on farms with no prior PED history were monitored after an acute outbreak of the disease, caused by an S INDEL strain of PED virus (PEDV). For diagnostic investigations in the affected farms, real time RT-PCR was performed to detect PEDV RNA in individually taken fecal samples, and two commercial ELISA kits, both based on the N protein of PEDV, were used to detect IgG in serum samples of pigs experiencing acute signs of the disease. PEDV RNA could be detected in fecal samples up to 14 days after initial sampling. Comparing both ELISAs by Cohens Kappa showed substantial agreement (kappa = 0,771). Antibodies were detectable in all fattening pigs (100%) within 10 days after the occurrence of first clinical signs and remained detectable for about two months at least in 20.6% (farm 1) and 45.7% (farm 2) of the animals, respectively. In contrast, only 18 of 34 (52.9%) suckling piglets seroconverted. Although, PEDV RNA was found in fecal samples of all piglets, 13 piglets did not demonstrate antibodies at any sampling day. PCR to detect PEDV RNA in fecal samples seems to be a reliable diagnostic tool during and after the acute outbreak. In the present study, IgG ELISA kits proved to be a feasible diagnostic tool, but age dependent differences in detection rate and persistence of antibodies need to be considered.

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