Third PRRS Virus Strain Identified in E Europe

GLOBAL - Researchers have identified Lena as a highly pathogenic East European sub-type 3 porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus, which differs the European sub-type 1 and North American US5 strains.
calendar icon 9 June 2010
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A group of researchers from Ghent University in Belgium led by Dr Hans Nauwynck has published a paper on the pathogenesis and antigenic characterisation of a new East European sub-type 3 PRRS virus isolate in BMC Veterinary Research.

First author, U. Karniychuk, and colleagues explain that the PRRS virus (PRRSV) is divided into a European and North American genotype. East European PRRSV isolates have been found to be of the European genotype but form different sub-types.

In the present study, PRRSV was isolated from a Belarusian farm with reproductive and respiratory failure and designated 'Lena'. Analyses revealed that Lena is a new East European sub-type 3 PRRSV isolate. The main purpose of this investigation was to study the pathogenesis and antigenic characteristics of the PRRS virus (Lena).


Obvious clinical and virological differences were observed between the animals inoculated with a recent European sub-type 1 PRRSV isolate (Belgium A) and animals inoculated with PRRSV (Lena).

Three out of six pigs inoculated with PRRSV (Belgium A) had anorexia and low fever at three, four and five days post-inoculation.

High fever, anorexia and depression were prominent signs in most pigs inoculated with PRRSV (Lena) between two and 28 days post-inoculation. Four pigs out of ten died during the experiment.

Arcanobacterium pyogenes was isolated from lungs of one animal that died, and Streptococcus suis was isolated from lungs of one animal that was euthanised.

The difference in viral titres in sera from PRRSV (Belgium A) and PRRSV (Lena)-infected pigs was statistically significant (p<0.05) at seven, 10, 14 and 21 days post-inoculation. The highest viral titres in sera ranged from 104.8 to 106.1 TCID50/ml for PRRSV (Lena) whereas they ranged from 103.1 to 104.8 TCID50/ml for PRRSV (Belgium A).

The replication of PRRSV (Lena) was further studied in depth. Viral titres ranged from 102.5 TCID50/100mg to 105.6 TCID50/100mg in nasal secretions between three and 14 days post-inoculation and from 102.8 TCID50/100mg to 104.6 TCID50/100mg in tonsillar scrapings between three and 21 days post-inoculation.

High viral titres were detected in lungs (102.3 to 107.7 TCID50/g tissue), tonsils (102.0 to 106.2 TCID50/g tissue) and inguinal lymph nodes (102.2 to 106.6 TCID50/g tissue) until 35, 28 and 35 days post-inoculation, respectively.

To examine the antigenic heterogeneity between the East European sub-type 3 isolate Lena, the European sub-type 1 strain Lelystad and the North American strain US5, sets of mono-specific polyclonal antisera were tested in immunoperoxidase monolayer assays (IPMAs) with homologous and heterologous viral antigens.

Heterologous antibody titres were significantly lower than homologous titres (p=0.01-0.03) for antisera against PRRSV (Lena) at all sampling time points. For antisera against PRRSV (Lelystad) and PRRSV (US5), heterologous antibody titres were significantly lower than homologous titres at 14 and 21 days post-inoculation (p=0.01-0.03) and at 10 and 14 days post-inoculation (p=0.04), respectively.


Lena is a highly pathogenic East European sub-type 3 PRRSV, which differs from European sub-type 1 Lelystad and North American US5 strains at both the genetic and antigenic level, according to Karniychuk and co-authors.


Karniychuk U.U., M. Geldhof, M. Vanhee, J. Van Doorsselaere, T.A. Saveleva and H.J. Nauwynck 2010. Pathogenesis and antigenic characterization of a new East European sub-type 3 porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus isolate. BMC Veterinary Research, 6:30. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-6-30.

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