Epidemiological investigation of pseudorabies in Shandong Province from 2013 to 2016.
In late 2011, a variant pseudorabies virus (vPRV) emerged in Bartha-K61-vaccinated pig herds, resulting in high morbidity and mortality of piglets in China. Since 2013, the autopsy lesions, histological examinations, virus isolation, phylogenetic analysis and selection pressure analysis of the gE gene of vPRV were recorded for 395 clinical cases, and 5,033 pig serum samples were detected by PRV gE-coated enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The major clinical symptoms were abortion in pregnant sows, fatal neurological signs in piglets and respiratory disease in growing pigs. Necrotic splenitis, hepatitis and lymphadenitis, haemorrhagic nephritis and non-suppurative encephalitis were observed by histopathological examination. Typical eosinophilic inclusion bodies were found in the nuclei of liver cells. Using PCR, 110 samples among 395 clinical cases tested positive for the gE gene. Fifteen vPRV strains were isolated and confirmed by sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the gE gene. The strains shared 97.1%-99.9% nucleotide (nt) and 96.6%-99.5% amino acid (aa) homology with PRV reference strains. Selection pressure analysis showed that one site in the codons of glycoprotein E was under positive selection. Of the 5,033 serum samples, 2,909 were positive by ELISA for a positive rate of 57.8%. These results showed that vPRV was still prevalent in Shandong Province, indicating severe PRV infectious pressure. The preparation of new vaccines against PRV is extremely urgent.