Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is an RNA virus in the order Nidovirales, family Arteriviridae, genus Arterivirus. The virus induces a prolonged viremia, replicates in macrophages, and produces persistent infection. The purpose of this study was to determine if PRRSV could persist for 90 d or more in a large population of breeding-age gilts housed under environmental conditions typical of commercial swine production and to determine if experimentally infected gilts could shed virus to naïve sentinel gilts beyond 90 d postinfection. Using the intranasal route, we inoculated 120 PRRSV-naïve gilts, 4 mo of age, with 5 mL of cell culture fluid containing a total dose of 102.4 TCID50 of a field isolate (MN-30100) of PRRSV. The index gilts were organized into 3 groups (A, B, and C), 40 gilts per group. To assess the dynamics of the experimental infection, a monitor group of 30 index gilts was blood-tested on days 0, 3, 7, 14, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 postinfection. PRRSV viremia was detected with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on days 3, 7, and 14 and by virus isolation (VI) on days 7 and 14. PRRSV antibodies were detected from day 14 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). To assess shedding, 30 PRRSV-naïve sentinel gilts were commingled with the index gilts on day 90 postinfection and tested by PCR, VI, and ELISA every 15 d until 180 d postinfection; all samples were negative. To assess persistence, 40 index and 10 sentinel gilts were slaughtered at 120 (group A), 150 (group B), or 180 (group C) d postinfection. Evidence of PRRSV was not detected by PCR or VI in any tissue samples from the 120 index gilts. These results indicate that persistence and shedding of PRRSV are of short duration in breeding-age gilts
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