Congenital tremor type A-II in piglets has been regarded as a transmissible disease since the 1970s, possibly caused by a very recently-described virus: atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV). Here, we describe several strains of APPV in piglets with clinical signs of congenital tremor (10 of 10 farms tested). Piglets on a farm with no history of congenital tremor were PCR-negative for the virus. To demonstrate a causal relationship between APPV and disease, three gilts were inoculated via intramuscular injection at day 32 of pregnancy. In two of the three litters, vertical transmission of the virus occurred. Clinical signs of congenital tremor were observed in APPV-infected newborns, yet also two asymptomatic carriers were among the offspring. Piglets of one litter were PCR-negative for the virus, and these piglets were all without congenital tremors. Long-term follow up of farm piglets born with congenital tremors showed that the initially high viremia in serum declines at five months of age, but shedding of the virus in feces continues, which explains why the virus remains present at affected farms and causes new outbreaks. We conclude that trans-placental transmission of APPV and subsequent infection of the fetuses is a very likely cause of congenital tremor type A-II in piglets.
- congenital tremor
- persistent infection