Monitoring of porcine circovirus type 2 infection through air and surface samples in vaccinated and unvaccinated fattening farms
Air and surfaces of swine farms are two alternative samples to obtain information about the health status of the herd. The aim of this study was to assess air and surface sampling for the detection of Porcine Circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) in vaccinated and unvaccinated fattening farms, studying the relationship between the viral load in these samples with the viremia at herd level. Three swine fattening batches (one unvaccinated; two vaccinated) were monitored at 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 weeks old; at each stage, blood, air and different surfaces were sampled and analysed by qPCR. In all herds, PCV2 was detected in all types of samples. Whenever viremia was detected, PCV2 was also detected in air and surface samples, even in those cases with a low estimated prevalence (1.6 %); moreover, in two out of the three herds, PCV2 was detected in air and surface samples earlier than in the blood of the sampled population. In addition, a good correlation between the viremia of pig population and the PCV2 load in air and surface samples was found in both cases (τ = 0.672 and 0.746 respectively; p < 0.05). These results show that air and surface samples could be useful tools to monitor PCV2 infection, being suitable for detecting the virus in cases of low prevalence and even before pigs develop viremia; therefore, these sampling techniques would speed up the implementation of the required measures to prevent productive and economic losses due to PCV2 infection.