Update on Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae-knowledge, gaps and challenges.
Porcine pleuropneumonia, caused by the bacterial porcine respiratory tract pathogen Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, leads to high economic losses in affected swine herds in most countries of the world. Pigs affected by peracute and acute disease suffer from severe respiratory distress with high lethality. The agent was first described in 1957 and, since then, knowledge about the pathogen itself, and its interactions with the host, has increased continuously. This is, in part, due to the fact that experimental infections can be studied in the natural host. However, the fact that most commercial pigs are colonized by this pathogen has hampered the applicability of knowledge gained under experimental conditions. In addition, several factors are involved in development of disease, and these have often been studied individually. In a DISCONTOOLS initiative, members from science, industry and clinics exchanged their expertise and empirical observations and identified the major gaps in knowledge. This review sums up published results and expert opinions, within the fields of pathogenesis, epidemiology, transmission, immune response to infection, as well as the main means of prevention, detection and control. The gaps that still remain to be filled are highlighted, and present as well as future challenges in the control of this disease are addressed.