The aim of this study was to determine whether porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) could be transmitted by aerosol under field conditions. A total of 210 five-month-old PRRSV-negative pigs were housed in a mechanically ventilated finishing facility containing 11 pens. Pen 1 contained 10 pigs (indirect contact controls) and pen 2 remained empty, providing a barrier of 2.5 m from the remaining pigs in pens 3 to 11. Fifteen or 16 of the pigs in each of pens 3 to 11 were infected experimentally with a field isolate of PRRSV and the other six or seven pigs served as direct contact controls. Five days after the pigs were infected, two trailers containing 10 five-week-old PRRSV-naive sentinel pigs were placed along each side of the building; one was placed 1 m from the exhaust fans on one side of the building, and the other was placed 30 m from the fans on the other side, and the sentinel pigs remained in the trailers for 72 hours. They were then moved to separate buildings on the same site, 30 and 80 m, respectively, from the infected barn, and their PRRSV status was monitored for 21 days. The direct and indirect contact control pigs became infected with PRRSV but the sentinel pigs did not.
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