Similar frequency of Porcine circovirus 3 (PCV-3) detection in serum samples of pigs affected by digestive or respiratory disorders and age-matched clinically healthy pigs
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Porcine circovirus 3 (PCV-3) has been identified in pigs affected by different disease conditions, although its pathogenicity remains unclear. The objective of the present study was to assess the frequency of PCV-3 infection in serum samples from animals suffering from post-weaning respiratory or digestive disorders as well as in healthy animals. A total of 315 swine serum samples were analysed for PCV-3 DNA detection by conventional PCR; positive samples were further assayed with a quantitative PCR and partially sequenced. Sera were obtained from 4 week- to 4 month-old pigs clinically diagnosed with respiratory (n = 129) or digestive (n = 126) disorders. Serum samples of age-matched healthy animals (n = 60) served as negative control. Pigs with clinical respiratory signs had a wide variety of pulmonary lesions including suppurative bronchopneumonia, interstitial pneumonia, fibrinous-necrotizing pneumonia and/or pleuritis. Animals with enteric signs displayed histopathological findings like villus atrophy and fusion, catarrhal enteritis and/or catarrhal colitis. Overall, PCV-3 DNA was detected in 19 out of 315 analysed samples (6.0%). Among the diseased animals, PCV-3 was found in 6.2% (8 out of 129) and 5.6% (7 out of 126) of pigs with respiratory and digestive disorders, respectively. The frequency of PCV-3 PCR positive samples among healthy pigs was 6.7% (4 out of 60). No apparent association was observed between PCR positive cases and any type of histopathological lesion. The phylogenetic analysis of the partial genome sequences obtained showed high identity among viruses from the three groups of animals studied. In conclusion, PCV-3 was present in the serum of diseased and healthy pigs to similar percentages, suggesting that this virus does not seem to be causally associated with respiratory or enteric disorders.