Investigation of people as mechanical vectors for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus
Sandra F. Amass, DVM, PhD, Dipl ABVP; Gregory W. Stevenson, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVP; Cheryl Anderson; Lee Ann Grote; Carol Dowell; Bryan D. Vyverberg; Charles Kanitz, DVM, PhD; Darryl Ragland, DVM, PhD
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Objectives: To determine (1) how long PRRSV RNA could be detected in human nasal secretions, fingernail washings, and saliva after exposure to pigs with PRRS; (2) whether people can act as mechanical vectors for PRRSV; and, (3) procedures to prevent such transmission.
Methods: Seventy 7-day-old PRRSV-free pigs were placed in four isolation rooms. Seven days later, the 20 pigs in one isolation room were inoculated with PRRSV. Seven days after inoculation, 10 people had 1 hour of contact with these clinically ill pigs. Immediately after exposure to these pigs, five people had similar contact with 20 Direct Human Exposure sentinel pigs. The remaining people showered, changed clothes and boots, and then contacted 20 Indirect Human Exposure sentinel pigs. Ten pigs served as negative controls. Human samples were collected before and after human contact with PRRSV-inoculated pigs and tested for PRRSV RNA.
Results: PRRSV-inoculated pigs developed PRRS, and PRRSV was isolated from these pigs. PRRSV RNA was detected in saliva and fingernail rinse samples of two of 10 people immediately after exposure to PRRSV-inoculated pigs. PRRSV RNA was detected on a third person (fingernail, at 5 hours), and fourth person (nasal swab, at 48 hours) after exposure to PRRSV-inoculated pigs. Negative control pigs and sentinel pigs remained clinically normal, seronegative, and negative for PRRSV by virus isolation at 23 days after exposure to people.
Implications: PRRS viral RNA may contaminate people after exposure to pigs with acute PRRS; however, under the conditions of this study, people did not act as mechanical vectors for PRRSV transmission from pigs with acute PRRS to uninfected pigs.
Keywords: biosecurity, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus
Cite as: Amass SF, Stevenson GW, Anderson C, et al. Investigation of people as mechanical vectors for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. J Swine Health Prod 2000;8(4):161-166.
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