Postweaning mulstisystemic wasting syndrome (pmws) in pigs. A review

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Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, caused by porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), is a recently described clinical condition which affects nursery and growing pigs. PMWS was initially recognized in Canada in 1991 and nowadays is considered to be worldwide distributed. Clinically, PMWS most representative symptoms include wasting, unthriftness, paleness of the skin, respiratory distress, diarrhea and sometimes icterus. PCV2 infection occurs in both PMWS affected and non-affected farms, and viral seroconversion shows a typical pattern, with declining of colostral antibodies during the lactating and nursery periods, with the lowest levels at the end of the nursery period, and active seroconversion of almost all pigs during the grower period. Although antibodies to PCV2 have been detected as early as 1969, no explanation for the emergence of this disease in the 90s has been established. Macroscopic lesions associated with PMWS are quite unspecific, but histopathological lesions in lymphoid tissues (lymphocyte depletion with histiocytic infiltration) are almost unique for this disease. These lesions together with other clinical and laboratorial findings suggest that severely affected pigs may be immunosuppressed. The criteria used for the diagnosis of PMWS include the existence of compatible clinical signs, presence of characteristic microscopic lesions and detection of PCV2 within these lesions. Because of the lack of appropriate treatment or vaccination against PCV2, zootechnical changes have been proposed in affected farms to reduce the so-called “infection pressure” due to PCV2 as well as to any other pathogen. © 2002 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-124
JournalVeterinary Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Multifactorial diseases
  • PMWS
  • Porcine circovirus type 2 infections
  • Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome
  • Swine diseases
  • Systemic diseases
  • Viral diseases
  • Wasting


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