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Background: Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) is a syndrome that is characterized by rapidly spreading watery diarrhea affecting pigs of all ages, but with major effects on suckling piglets. The disease, as well as the causative Alphacoronavirus, the Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), was first described in Europe in the 1970s and since then has spread over many Asian and American countries, where it recently led to devastating effects on swine health and pork industry. While the disease was seldom reported in Europe within the last few decades, a few recent reports re-emergence of PED in German pig farms. The hitherto isolated German strain seems to be closely related to a low pathogenic PEDV variant from the USA. This case report describes the first detection of PEDV in Austria. Case presentation: Reduced feed uptake and occasional diarrhea were observed in December 2014 in a group of fattening pigs, kept on an Austrian swine farm. The concerned pigs had been recently purchased from Germany. Within a few weeks, diarrhea became apparent also in pigs of Austrian origin, which were kept in a different stable on the same farm. Gastrointestinal symptoms among fattening pigs were generally mild, quickly resolving and did not lead to death. PEDV RNA was identified by RT-qPCR in pooled feces and serum and PEDV antibodies were detectable in serum in both groups of pigs. Phylogenetic analysis of the nearly complete PEDV spike gene shows that the Austrian PEDV strain is highly similar to other strains involved in recent outbreaks in Western and Central Europe. Conclusion: This is the first report demonstrating the presence of PEDV in Austria. The virus was probably introduced by purchasing piglets from a German source, which underlines the significance of trans-boundary animal trade for the distribution of highly contagious diseases, such as PED.
Steinrigl, A., Fernández, S. R., Stoiber, F., Pikalo, J., Sattler, T., & Schmoll, F. (2015). First detection, clinical presentation and phylogenetic characterization of Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in Austria. BMC Veterinary Research, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-015-0624-1