Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV 2) represents a widespread, globally occurring pathogen with an increasing number of associated entities. To further elucidate the origin, spread and pathogenesis of PCV2 and associated changes archived material of pigs originating from Northern Germany and submitted for necropsy between 1961 and 1998 were investigated by using in situ hybridisation and polymerase chain reaction. PCV2 was first detected in a pig from 1962. However, incidence of detectable viral DNA and occurrence of PCV2-associated lesions varied substantially in the following years. The overall incidence of PCV2 infection was low between 1961 and 1984 (0-11.7%) and increased between 1985 and 1998 (14.3-53.3%). PCV2-associated pathological changes including postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) and most likely porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (PDNS) were first observed in 1985. Selected sequence analyses of PCV2 DNA segments revealed high homology with current virus strains. In summary, findings showed that PCV2 has been present in the pig population in Northern Germany since 1962. This represents worldwide the earliest report about the detection of the PCV2 genome in pigs. Associated lesions such as PMWS and PDNS were not observed before 1985, indicating that virus infection alone does not seem to be sufficient enough to trigger the development of associated entities. Limited sequence analysis revealed no changes in the viral genome thus suggesting that other factors including environmental changes or co-infections with other agents might play a contributing role in the altered virulence of this pathogen and the occurrence of PCV2-associated lesions. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- In situ hybridisation
- Porcine circovirus type 2
- Porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome
- Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome
- Retrospective study