Porcine Deltacoronavirus is a newly emergent enteric pathogen affecting swine farms worldwide. It has been detected in several countries in Europe, Asia and North America; yet, it has not been reported in South America. In November 2019, an enteric disease outbreak in a pig farm located in San Martin, Peru; was reported along with submission of three intestinal samples from pigs who succumbed to the disease. Samples were processed for molecular detection by qRT-PCR, viral isolation and further sequencing analysis. A taqman-based RT-PCR was performed to differentiate among the most relevant swine enteric coronaviruses described to date. All samples were positive to Porcine Deltacoronavirus with a cycle threshold (Ct) value between 9-14, revealing a high viral load, while testing negative to Porcine Epidemic diarrhea and Transmissible Gastroenteritis viruses. Following detection, viral isolation was performed using PK-15 and Vero cell lines. After 5 days of inoculation, no cytopathic effect was observed. A second blind passage allowed the observation of cytopathic effect on PK-15 cells, while it remained absent in Vero cells. A fluorescence test using an anti-N monoclonal antibody confirmed viral replication. One sample was processed for whole genome sequencing (NGS). In short, raw reads were imported into CLC genomics and assembled de novo. Out of 479k reads generated from the sample, 436k assembled into a 25501 bp contig which was 99.5% identical to a reference Porcine Deltacoronavirus strain from US within the North American phylogroup. Yet, there are relevant differences at the nucleotide and amino acid levels compared to previously described Porcine Deltacoronavirus strains. Altogether, our findings represent the first report of Porcine Deltacoronavirus in South America, its genomic characterization, which provides information of its evolutionary origin. Thus, this study offers new insights into the molecular epidemiology of Porcine Deltacoronavirus infections in the swine industry.
The hypothesis that feed ingredients could serve as vehicles for the transport and transmission of viral pathogens was first validated under laboratory conditions. To bridge the gap from the laboratory to the field, this current project tested whether three significant viruses of swine could survive in feed ingredients during long-distance commercial transport across the continental US. One-metric ton totes of soybean meal (organic and conventional) and complete feed were spiked with a 10 mL mixture of PRRSV 174, PEDV, and SVA and transported for 23 days in a commercial semi-trailer truck, crossing 29 states, and 10,183 km. Samples were tested for the presence of viral RNA by PCR, and for viable virus in soy-based samples by swine bioassay and in complete feed samples by natural feeding. Viable PRRSV, PEDV, and SVA were detected in both soy products and viable PEDV and SVA in complete feed. These results provide the first evidence that viral pathogens of pigs can survive in representative volumes of feed and feed ingredients during long-distance commercial transport across the continental US.
The role of animal feed as a vehicle for the transport and transmission of viral diseases was first identified during the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) epidemic in North America. Since that time, various feed additives have been evaluated at the laboratory level to measure their effect on viral viability and infectivity in contaminated feed using bioassay piglet models. While a valid first step, the conditions of these studies were not representative of commercial swine production. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of feed additives to mitigate the risk of virus-contaminated feed using a model based on real-world conditions. This new model used an “ice-block” challenge, containing equal concentrations of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), Seneca-virus A (SVA) and PEDV, larger populations of pigs, representative commercial facilities and environments, along with realistic volumes of complete feed supplemented with selected additives. Following supplementation, the ice block was manually dropped into designated feed bins and pigs consumed feed by natural feeding behavior. After challenge, samples were collected at the pen level (feed troughs, oral fluids) and at the animal level (clinical signs, viral infection, growth rate, and mortality) across five independent experiments involving 15 additives. In 14 of the additives tested, pigs on supplemented diets had significantly greater average daily gain (ADG), significantly lower clinical signs and infection levels, and numerically lower mortality rates compared to non-supplemented controls. In conclusion, the majority of the additives evaluated mitigated the effects of PRRSV 174, PEDV, and SVA in contaminated feed, resulting in improved health and performance.