Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Sapelovirus A infections



Sapelovirus A infections


  • Last modified
  • 07 November 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Sapelovirus A infections
  • Pathogens
  • Sapelovirus A
  • Overview
  • Picornaviruses infecting pigs, described for many years as 'porcine enteroviruses', have now been recognized as distinct viruses within three distinct genera (Teschovirus, Sapelovirus and Enterovirus...

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Sapelovirus A infections


Top of page Sapelovirus A


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Picornaviruses infecting pigs, described for many years as 'porcine enteroviruses', have now been recognized as distinct viruses within three distinct genera (Teschovirus, Sapelovirus and Enterovirus) (Kaku et al. 2001; Zell et al., 2001; Krumbholz et al. 2002). The species previously known as Porcine enterovirus A, was renamed Porcine sapelovirus (Krumbholz et al. 2002). It has since been renamed Sapelovirus A (SV-A). [see: ICTV Taxonomy history].

SV-A has been isolated from both healthy and diseased pigs and its pathogenic potential has not been completely elucidated (Buitrago et al., 2010; Bak et al., 2016). However, SV-A has been associated with diarrhoea (Bak et al., 2016; Chen et al., 2016), respiratory disease (Lan et al., 2011) and polioencephalomyelitis (Schock et al., 2014; Arruda et al., 2017). Symptoms including diarrhoea, respiratory distress and polioencephalomyelitis have been reproduced by inoculating healthy pigs with SV-A (Lan et al., 2011; Kim et al., 2016). SV-A has been associated with the syndrome known as stillbirth, mummification, embryonic death, and infertility (SMEDI) (Dunne et al., 1974). The symptoms are comparable to those caused by porcine parvovirus, the most common cause of SMEDI.

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Sus scrofa (pigs)Domesticated host, Wild host

Hosts/Species Affected

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SV-A circulates worldwide in domestic pigs (Sozzi et al., 2010; Lan et al., 2011; Prodelalová, 2012; Chen et al., 2016). SV-A has been reported in wild boar in Spain (Cano-Gómez et al., 2013) and Brazil (Donin et al., 2015). Peccaries (Pecari tajacu and Tayassu pecari) in Brazil were evaluated as a possible alternative host species of porcine enteric picornaviruses, but they tested negative (Donin et al., 2015).


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SV-A is ubiquitous and has been reported in Europe (Sozzi et al., 2010; Schock et al., 2014), Asia (Lan et al., 2011; Bak et al., 2016), North America (Chen et al., 2016) and South America (Donin et al., 2015).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


ChinaPresentLan et al., 2011
Korea, Republic ofPresentBak et al., 2016

North America

USAPresentChen et al., 2016

South America

BrazilPresentDonin et al., 2015


Czech RepublicPresentProdelalová, 2012
ItalyPresentSozzi et al., 2010
SpainPresentVilar et al., 2016
UKPresentSchock et al., 2014


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SV-A infections are often subclinical, but SV-A has been associated with diarrhoea (Bak et al., 2016; Chen et al., 2016), respiratory disease (Lan et al., 2011), polioencephalomyelitis (Schock et al., 2014; Arruda et al., 2017) and reproductive disorders (Dunne et al., 1974).

Oral inoculation of 3-day-old piglets with an enteropathogenic Korean SV-A strain (KS04105) resulted in diarrhoea from 1 to 5 days post infection (dpi) (Kim et al., 2016). SV-A infection resulted in histopathological changes in the small intestines, including villous atrophy and crypt hyperplasia at 1 dpi. These mucosal changes were gradually increased in all regions of the small intestine until 5 dpi followed by a decrease at 7 dpi. Large intestinal lesions, including crypt fusion with epithelial cell hyperplasia, were observed at 2 dpi, increased until 5 dpi followed by a decrease at 7 dpi. Lungs from infected piglets showed lymphoid cell infiltration in the peribronchiolar submucosa and perivascular space from 5 dpi to the end of the experiment. Adaptive immune reactions to SV-A infection evident as perivascular cuffing of lymphocytes and gliosis were observed in both grey and white matters of spinal cord (myelitis) and brain (encephalitis). These typical host defence reactions were observed from 7 dpi until the termination of the experiment.

Arruda et al. (2017) identified SV-A in pigs with neurological disease in the USA. Finisher pigs showed paresis, paralysis and ataxia. Histopathologic examination of the cerebrum, cerebellum and spinal cord revealed severe lymphoplasmacytic and necrotizing polioencephalomyelitis with multifocal areas of gliosis and neuron satellitosis, suggestive of a neurotropic viral infection.


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SV-A can be cultured in cell lines of porcine origin, such as porcine kidney cells PK-15 and IBRS-2 (Sozzi et al., 2010; Lan et al., 2011). Cultured SV-A can be identified using virus neutralization (Sozzi et al., 2010) and immunofluorescence (Son et al., 2014) assays.

Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) can be used to detect SV-A in faecal samples (Buitrago et al., 2010). Nested reverse transcription (Zell et al., 2000), real time PCR (Guo et al., 2015) and reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) techniques (Wang et al., 2014) have been described.


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Studies suggest that pigs of all ages are susceptible to the porcine enteric picornaviruses, but infections are often subclinical. The faecal-oral is thought to be the primary mode of transmission, although fomites may also play a role as SV-A can survive well in the environment (Horak et al., 2016).

A study investigating Porcine teschovirus (PTV), SV-A, and porcine enterovirus B (now called enterovirus G, EV-G) in suckling < 4 weeks of age), post-weaning (4-12 weeks of age), slaughter (6 months of age), and adult pigs detected the 3 viruses in all age groups, except for SV-A, which was not detected in adult animals (Prodelalová, 2012). In contrast, a Brazilian study reported the 3 viruses in post-weaning pigs (4-8 weeks old) but did not detect SV-A in suckling piglets (1-3 weeks old) (Donin et al. 2014). Co-infections with 2 or 3 porcine enteric picornaviruses were common in the different age groups (Prodelalová 2012, Cano-Gómez et al. 2013, Donin et al. 2014).

A Korean study of suckling, weaned and finisher pigs and sows found that SV-A infections are common in pigs with and without diarrhoea, without age predilection (Bak et al., 2016).

In studies of wild boar in Brazil, Donin et al. (2015) detected PTV, SV-A, and EV-G more frequently in animals up to 7 months of age relative to adult (2- to 4-year-old) wild boars.

Zoonoses and Food Safety

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SV-A is not known to infect humans (Horak et al., 2016).


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Arruda PHE; Arruda BL; Schwartz KJ; Vannucci F; Resende T; Rovira A; Sundberg P; Nietfeld J; Hause BM, 2017. Detection of a novel sapelovirus in central nervous tissue of pigs with polioencephalomyelitis in the USA. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 64(2):311-315.

Bak GeonYong; Kang MunIl; Son KyuYeol; Park JunGyu; Kim DeokSong; Seo JaYoung; Kim JiYun; Alfajaro MM; Soliman M; Baek YeongBin; Cho EunHyo; Kwon J; Choi JongSoon; Park SangIk; Cho KyoungOh, 2016. Occurrence and molecular characterization of Sapelovirus A in diarrhea and non-diarrhea feces of different age group pigs in one Korean pig farm. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 78(12):1911-1914.

Buitrago D; Cano-Gómez C; Agüero M; Fernandez-Pacheco P; Gómez-Tejedor C; Jiménez-Clavero MÁ, 2010. A survey of porcine picornaviruses and adenoviruses in fecal samples in Spain. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 22(5):763-766.

Cano-Gómez C; García-Casado MA; Soriguer R; Palero F; Jiménez-Clavero MA, 2013. Teschoviruses and sapeloviruses in faecal samples from wild boar in Spain. Veterinary Microbiology [One World, One Health, One Virology. 9th International Congress of Veterinary Virology, Madrid, Spain, 4-7 September 2012.], 165(1/2):115-122.

Chen Qi; Zheng Ying; Guo BaoQing; Zhang JianQiang; Yoon KyoungJin; Harmon KM; Main RG; Li GanWu, 2016. Complete genome sequence of porcine sapelovirus strain USA/IA33375/2015 identified in the United States. Genome Announcements, 4(5):e01055-16.

Donin DG; Leme Rde A; Alfieri AF; Alberton GC; Alfieri AA, 2014. First report of Porcine teschovirus (PTV), Porcine sapelovirus (PSV) and Enterovirus G (EV-G) in pig herds of Brazil. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 46(3):523-528.

Donin DG; Leme Rde A; Alfieri AF; Alberton GC; Alfieri AA, 2015. Molecular survey of porcine teschovirus, porcine sapelovirus, and enterovirus G in captive wild boars (Sus scrofa scrofa) of Paraná state, Brazil. Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira, 35(5):403-408.

Dunne HW; Wang JT; Huang CM, 1974. Early in utero infection of porcine embryos and fetuses with SMEDI (entero-) viruses: mortality, antibody development, and viral persistence. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 35(No.12):1479-1481.

Guo Bo; Fang HeJun; Liu XiaoWan; Yang Fan; Liu PengJuan; Huang JianBo; Li Ping; Xu ZhiWen; Zhu Ling, 2015. Establishment and application of a real-time RT-PCR based on SYBR Green II for detection of porcine sapelovirus. Chinese Veterinary Science / Zhongguo Shouyi Kexue, 45(9):937-942.

Horak S; Killoran K; Leedom Larson KR, 2016. Porcine sapelovirus. Swine Health Information Center and Center for Food Security and Public Health.

Kaku Y; Sarai A; Murakami Y, 2001. Genetic reclassification of porcine enteroviruses. Journal of General Virology, 82(2):417-424.

Kim DeokSong; Kang MunIl; Son KyuYeol; Bak GeonYong; Park JunGyu; Hosmillo M; Seo JaYoung; Kim JiYun; Alfajaro MM; Soliman M; Baek YeongBin; Cho EunHyo; Lee JuHwan; Kwon J; Choi JongSoon; Goodfellow I; Cho KyoungOh, 2016. Pathogenesis of Korean Sapelovirus A in piglets and chicks. Journal of General Virology, 97(10):2566-2574.

Krumbholz A; Dauber M; Henke A; Birch-Hirschfeld E; Knowles NJ; Stelzner A; Zell R, 2002. Sequencing of porcine enterovirus groups II and III reveals unique features of both virus groups. Journal of Virology, 76(11):5813-5821.

Lan DaoLiang; Ji WenHui; Yang ShiXing; Cui Li; Yang ZhiBiao; Yuan CongLi; Hua XiuGuo, 2011. Isolation and characterization of the first Chinese porcine sapelovirus strain. Archives of Virology, 156(9):1567-1574.

Prodelalová J, 2012. The survey of porcine teschoviruses, sapeloviruses and enteroviruses B infecting domestic pigs and wild boars in the Czech Republic between 2005 and 2011. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 12(7):1447-1451.

Schock A; Gurrala R; Fuller H; Foyle L; Dauber M; Martelli F; Scholes S; Roberts L; Steinbach F; Dastjerdi A, 2014. Investigation into an outbreak of encephalomyelitis caused by a neuroinvasive porcine sapelovirus in the United Kingdom. Veterinary Microbiology, 172(3/4):381-389.

Son KyuYeol; Kim DeokSong; Kwon J; Choi JongSoon; Kang MunIl; Belsham GJ; Cho KyoungOh, 2014. Full-length genomic analysis of Korean porcine sapelovirus strains. PLoS ONE, 9(9):e107860.

Sozzi E; Barbieri I; Lavazza A; Lelli D; Moreno A; Canelli E; Bugnetti M; Cordioli P, 2010. Molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of VP1 of porcine enteric picornaviruses isolates in Italy. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 57(6):434-442.

Vilar MJ; Peralta B; García-Bocanegra I; Simon-Grifé M; Bensaid A; Casal J; Segalés J; Pina-Pedrero S, 2016. Distribution and genetic characterization of Enterovirus G and Sapelovirus A in six Spanish swine herds. Virus Research, 215:42-49.

Wang ChunYan; Yu DaYi; Cui Li; Hua XiuGuo; Yuan CongLi; Sun Huan; Liu YuXiao, 2014. Rapid and real-time detection of Porcine sapelovirus by reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay. Journal of Virological Methods, 203:5-8.

Zell R; Dauber M; Krumbholz A; Henke A; Birch-Hirschfeld E; Stelzner A; Prager D; Wurm R, 2001. Porcine Teschoviruses comprise at least eleven distinct serotypes: molecular and evolutionary aspects. Journal of Virology, 75(4):1620-1631.

Zell R; Krumbholz A; Henke A; Birch-Hirschfeld E; Stelzner A; Doherty M; Hoey E; Dauber M; Prager D; Wurm R, 2000. Detection of porcine enteroviruses by nRT-PCR: differentiation of CPE groups I-III with specific primer sets. Journal of Virological Methods, 88(2):205-218.

Links to Websites

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The Picornavirus pages The Pirbright Institute, UK.

Distribution Maps

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