Molecular characterization of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) identified from slaughtered pigs in northern Uganda

Background A cross sectional study was conducted to detect and characterize species of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) identified from slaughtered pigs in Lira district, northern Uganda. The study was conducted from March to September 2019 in three selected slaughter slabs. Pigs brought for slaughter were randomly sampled. At necropsy, lungs were extracted from the thoracic cavity and examined for pneumonic lesions. Seventy-three (73) pigs with gross lung lesions were sampled, from which one hundred and one (101) tissue samples were taken. A real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-qPCR) was used to characterize PRRSv species. Results A total of 20 samples tested positive for PRRSv. The respective prevalence of PRRSv type 1 and type 2 were 24.65% (n = 18) and 2.73% (n = 2) respectively. Of the pigs sampled (n = 73), only two pigs, 2.73% (n = 2) tested positive to both species. The likelihood of PRRSv detection decreased with pig age, but increased with gross pneumonic pathology. Conclusions This study demonstrated dual circulation of both species in northern Uganda. The association between PRRSv and lung pathology suggests that it may be an important cause of lung disease in pigs in Uganda and hence loss of production. This calls for further investigations on potential economic impacts of PRRSv on pig productivity. These findings contribute to discussions about the need of surveillance and possible vaccination strategies against PRRSv in Uganda.