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Ongoing challenges posed by the infection dynamics of porcine circovirus 2
  1. Isabel Hennig-Pauka
  1. University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Field Station for Epidemiology, Bakum, Germany
  1. email: Isabel.Hennig-Pauka{at}

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In the mid-1990s, porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2) was identified as the causative agent of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS).1,2 The virus can be transmitted horizontally by all porcine excretions and secretions, and can also be transmitted vertically.3,4

PCV2 is currently subdivided into six genotypes, named PCV2a–PCV2f, based upon specific nucleotide sequences in ORF2 coding for the viral capsid protein.5-7 PCV2a was the dominant genotype until 2004, with PCV2b becoming the most frequently detected genotype in subsequent years.8 In 2010, a new genotype was detected in China and North America; which was first classified as mutant PCV2b and later as PCV2d.5,9,10 This genotype is also circulating in Europe, with high detection rates in pigs from vaccinated herds.11 Because of this finding, PCV2d was thought to be more virulent than other genotypes of PCV2. However, infection experiments in North America found similar results with PCV2a, PCV2b and PCV2d, and the protectivity of commercial PCV2 vaccines against PCV2d was confirmed.12,13 As PCV2d is highly prevalent, even in vaccinated herds, an evolutionary advantage of this genotype to be able to replicate in vaccinated pigs cannot be excluded.14

Since the first description of PMWS, PCV2 has been …

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