The effect of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) on early gestation was investigated by exposing susceptible gilts to the virus shortly after they had been bred naturally. Sixteen gilts were exposed intrauterinely to PRRSV and 23 gilts received a sham inoculum. One day after exposure, and on or about seven, 14, and 30 days after exposure, the gilts were bled and the serum was tested for PRRSV and homologous antibody. The pregnancy status of each gilt was determined on day 30 by ultrasound, and near or at term either by necropsy or by allowing the gilts to farrow naturally. All 16 gilts exposed to PRRSV became infected, as evidenced by the detection of PRRSV in seven of the gilts and homologous antibody in the serum of all of them, whereas all the 23 gilts exposed to a sham inoculum remained free of both virus and antibody. Ten of the 16 infected gilts conceived, and 19 of the 23 uninfected gilts conceived, but the difference in conception rate was not statistically significant. Moreover, the mean numbers of live fetuses or pigs per litter of the infected and uninfected gilts were similar (9.7 and 9.3). These results suggest that the intrauterine infection of susceptible pigs with PRRSV at or near the time of conception may have little or no effect on their reproductive performance.
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