Publish Date: August 29, 2013
Among the economically important diarrheal diseases of baby pigs, transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) remains a cause of sickness and death. All age groups are susceptible. When the disease strikes a seronegative (antibody-free) herd at the time of farrowing, it is not unusual to lose most (often 100%) of the pigs farrowed under 3 weeks of age. A milder enzootic form of TGE, associated with chronic or intermittent episodes of diarrhea usually in 1- to 3-week-old suckling or recently weaned pigs, occurs in partially immune (seropositive) herds that have continuous farrowing or where pigs are regularly added or mixed. After a distinct respiratory variant of TGE (porcine respiratory coronavirus or PRCV) has spread throughout most parts of the world (first in Europe, and then in the US in the 1980’s) occurrences of TGE have become more sporadic. Although accurate statistics are not available, the disease is still reported from parts of Europe, North America and Asia. Serologic surveys indicate that enzootic TGE is widespread throughout the US. Porcine respiratory coronavirus infections have complicated the diagnosis of TGE by generating cross-reactive antibodies that cannot be differentiated using conventional serologic tests, even though they are usually associated with only mild respiratory disease or sub-clinical infections.