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Porcine Respiratory coronavirus (PRCV)

(547) Around 1986 several laboratory workers in Belgium and France and later in other countries who were carrying out routine testing of blood samples for TGE began to realise that an epidemic of antibodies, (i.e. positive tests) for TGE was rapidly spreading but no clinical TGE was occurring.

The cause was found to be a highly infectious virus, identical to TGE except that it had lost its ability to multiply in the intestines and therefore did not cause diarrhoea. It multiplied mainly in the lungs and appeared to be windborne by the rapidity of its spread.

It spread right across Western Europe and to the UK but not to Ireland which remains free. Very few herds escaped.

Should you be concerned about PRCV?


If your pig farm is in Western Europe (except Ireland), the chances are that you already have it and probably do not know it.

If you live elsewhere you are unlikely to get it.

Importance of PRCV

There are two points of importance.

  1. It cross reacts with TGE on most tests which is why countries that do not have it do not want it. (There is a special test which can differentiate between the two). If you are involved in the export of breeding pigs from Western Europe you will find difficulty in finding sero-negative breeding herds.
  2. Since it spread through Western Europe TGE has almost disappeared. It is assumed that it has naturally vaccinated the national herds.
Clinical signs

A transient coughing, lasting only a few hours, which is generally not noticed by the pig people.

No other clinical signs!

It is often found in pneumonia in mixed infections with PRRS, influenza and mycoplasma but whether or not it is playing any role is not known.


Blood tests done in a diagnostic laboratory capable of carrying out the differential test.

Management control and prevention

  • National importation programmes - Individual countries which are free from this infection and TGE will only import pigs that are sero-negative for TGE and PRCV
  • On-farm precautions - None!

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