Impact of porcine group A rotavirus co-infection on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus pathogenicity in piglets

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and porcine group A rotavirus (PGAR) are the main causative agents of acute diarrhea in piglets. In South Korea, PGAR is prevalent in piglets naturally infected with PEDV. Piglets naturally co-infected with PEDV and PGAR appeared to have severe and prolonged diarrhea that was distinct from that commonly observed. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of PGAR co-infection on PEDV pathogenicity in piglets. Thirty-six colostrum-deprived, one-day old, Large White-Duroc crossbred pigs were randomly divided into four equal groups: PEDV, PEDV/PGAR, PGAR, and control groups. The piglets were euthanized at 1, 2, or 3 days post-inoculation (DPI) to measure the villous height:crypt depth (VH:CD) ratio and to collect fecal samples for RT-PCR and virus isolation. No significant differences in mean VH:CD ratio and clinical symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and anorexia) were observed between the PEDV/PGAR-infected and PEDV-infected groups of piglets at 1, 2 and 3 DPI; however, at 2 and 3 DPI, PGAR was detected in all fecal samples by RT-PCR and virus isolation. These findings failed to detect any interaction between PEDV and porcine rotavirus in the small intestines of piglets, suggesting that concurrent infection of PGAR may not synergistically enhance intestinal villous atrophy of piglets with PEDV disease. We propose that the severe diarrhea exhibited in PEDV and PGAR co-infected piglets may be more associated with the immunity level of the host rather than to any synergistic effect of PGAR on PEDV enteritis.

Kwonil Jung, Bo-Kyu Kang, Chul-Seung Lee and Dae-Sub Song, Impact of porcine group A rotavirus co-infection on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus pathogenicity in piglets, Research in Veterinary Science, Volume 84, Issue 3, June 2008, Pages 502-506. Accepted 17 July 2007. Available online 28 August 2007.