A case-control study of 74 herds with postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (pmws) and 74 matched control herds was carried out. In the case herds the mortality rates of weaner and finisher pigs were 11·2 and 5·2 per cent respectively, compared with 3·1 and 3·2 per cent in the control herds. In most case herds, pmws developed within the first four weeks after weaning. Wasting, diarrhoea and respiratory signs were observed in 10 per cent of the weaner pigs (7 to 30 kg) in the case herds compared with 7 per cent in the control herds. The average daily gains of the weaner pigs and finisher pigs were 36 g and 52 g less in the case herds than in the control herds. By examining three weaner pigs from each herd the pmws diagnosis was confirmed by histopathology and immunohistochemistry in 78 per cent of the case herds, but at least one pmws-positive weaner pig was found in 19 of the control herds. The prevalence of pmws-positive pigs among illthriven weaner pigs was 45 per cent (101/222) in the case herds, and 12 per cent (27/222) in the control herds. Specific gross pathological findings were associated with a positive pmws diagnosis; pigs with heavy, rubber-like lungs, atonic intestines, and enlarged bronchial and inguinal lymph nodes, had a 0·7 probability of a positive pmws diagnosis by laboratory examinations. However, for illthriven pigs, this probability of having pmws was equal in the case herds and the control herds.