Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


swine vesicular disease



swine vesicular disease


  • Last modified
  • 14 July 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • swine vesicular disease
  • Overview
  • Swine vesicular disease (SVD) was first observed in Italy in 1966, where it was clinically recognized as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) (Nardelli et al., 1968). Physical and che...

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TitleVesicular lesion on the nose.
Vesicular lesion on the nose.ID-Lelystad
TitleVesicular lesion on the coronary band.
Vesicular lesion on the coronary band.ID-Lelystad
A vesicle on the coronary band extending to the bulb of the heel.
TitleVesicular lesion in the interdigital space.
CaptionA vesicle on the coronary band extending to the bulb of the heel.
A vesicle on the coronary band extending to the bulb of the heel.
Vesicular lesion in the interdigital space.A vesicle on the coronary band extending to the bulb of the heel.ID-Lelystad
Vesicular lesions on the teats and udder.
TitleVesicular lesion.
CaptionVesicular lesions on the teats and udder.
Vesicular lesions on the teats and udder.
Vesicular lesion.Vesicular lesions on the teats and udder.ID-Lelystad
Erosions on the tongue are similar to those that can occur in FMD.
TitleExternal symptoms
CaptionErosions on the tongue are similar to those that can occur in FMD.
Copyright©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Erosions on the tongue are similar to those that can occur in FMD.
External symptomsErosions on the tongue are similar to those that can occur in FMD.©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Ruptured vesicles on the heel are indistinguishable from FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease).
TitleExternal symptoms
CaptionRuptured vesicles on the heel are indistinguishable from FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease).
Copyright©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Ruptured vesicles on the heel are indistinguishable from FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease).
External symptomsRuptured vesicles on the heel are indistinguishable from FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease).©USDA-2002/Foreign Animal Diseases Training Set/USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • swine vesicular disease

International Common Names

  • English: swine vesicular disease - exotic
  • Spanish: enfermedad vesicular del cerdo
  • French: maladie vesiculaire du porc

Local Common Names

  • Denmark: blaeresyge hos svin
  • Germany: schweine-blaeschenkrankheit
  • Italy: malattia vescicolare dei suini; malattia vescicolare del suino
  • Netherlands: blaasjesziekte; vesiculaire varkensziekte

English acronym

  • SVD


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Swine vesicular disease (SVD) was first observed in Italy in 1966, where it was clinically recognized as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) (Nardelli et al., 1968). Physical and chemical analysis of the virus showed that it differed from FMD, vesicular stomatitis and vesicular exanthema virus. SVD was very similar to viruses belonging to the genus Enterovirus within the family of Picornaviridae. SVD virus (SVDV) was subsequently isolated in an FMD vaccine trial in Hong Kong in 1971 (Mowat et al., 1972).

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Sus scrofa (pigs)Domesticated host, Wild hostPigs: All Stages
TayassuidaeDomesticated host, Wild host

Hosts/Species Affected

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Clinical disease after a swine vesicular disease (SVD) infection is restricted to pigs. Not only Euro-Asian pigs but also American one-toed pigs (peccaries;tayassuidae) are susceptible (Wilder et al., 1974). Relatively high titres of swine vesicular disease virus (SVDV) have been detected in the pharynx of sheep kept in close contact with SVD infected pigs (Burrows et al., 1974b). In some of the contact sheep, neutralizing antibodies were detected, indicating that the virus had replicated in the sheep.

Systems Affected

Top of page digestive diseases of pigs
mammary gland diseases of pigs
nervous system diseases of pigs
reproductive diseases of pigs
skin and ocular diseases of pigs


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In 1972, swine vesicular disease (SVD) was diagnosed in Great Britain, Austria, Italy and Poland. The table below shows the countries that reported outbreaks of SVD. Recently only Taiwan and Italy have reported outbreaks of SVD, but the virus is probably present in other Asian and perhaps also in East-European countries. North and South America are considered free of SVD, although Nicaragua (in 1986) and Bolivia (in 1991) have reported outbreaks to the FAO. Because SVD generally does not cause serious problems, the disease is probably under-reported. Recent foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks in Italy (in 1993) and Taiwan (in 1997) coincided with increased reports of SVD diagnoses in both countries. This suggests that farmers, who are familiar with the symptoms of SVD, do not report the disease until they think it might be FMD, resulting in a slower recognition of FMD.

Year of last appearance of swine vesicular disease outbreaks in the world. Based on the FAO Animal Health Yearbook (1971-1996) and information obtained from the European reference laboratory for vesicular diseases in Pirbright (UK).

RegionYear of last appearance


Portugal 1995
Netherlands 1994
Belgium 1993
Spain 1993
Germany 1985
Romania 1985
France 1983
Great Britain 1982
Austria 1979
Greece 1979
Malta 1978
Ukraine 1977
Russia 1975
Switzerland 1975
Poland 1972
Bulgaria 1971
Central and South America  
Bolivia 1991
Nicaragua 1986
Taiwan 1998
Lebanon 1992
Hong Kong 1991
Laos 1991
Macau 1989
Korea 1980
Japan 1975


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


AfghanistanDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
AzerbaijanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BahrainDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BangladeshDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BhutanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Brunei DarussalamDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-Hong KongLast reported1989OIE Handistatus, 2005
Georgia (Republic of)Disease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IndiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IndonesiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IranDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IraqDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IsraelDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
JapanLast reported1975OIE Handistatus, 2005
JordanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
KazakhstanDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Korea, DPRDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Korea, Republic ofDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
KuwaitDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LebanonNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
-Peninsular MalaysiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-SabahDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-SarawakDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MongoliaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MyanmarDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
NepalDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
OmanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PhilippinesDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
QatarDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Saudi ArabiaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SingaporeDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Sri LankaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SyriaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TaiwanLast reported1999OIE, 1999; OIE Handistatus, 2005
TajikistanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ThailandDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TurkeyDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TurkmenistanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
United Arab EmiratesDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UzbekistanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
VietnamDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
YemenDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005


AlgeriaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
AngolaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BeninNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BotswanaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Burkina FasoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BurundiNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
CameroonDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Cape VerdeDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Central African RepublicDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ChadDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Congo Democratic RepublicDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Côte d'IvoireDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
DjiboutiDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EgyptDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EritreaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EthiopiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
GhanaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuineaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Guinea-BissauDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
KenyaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LibyaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MadagascarDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MalawiDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MaliDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MauritiusDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MoroccoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MozambiqueDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
NamibiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
NigeriaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
RéunionDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
RwandaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Sao Tome and PrincipeDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SenegalDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SeychellesDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SomaliaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
South AfricaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SudanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SwazilandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TanzaniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TogoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TunisiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UgandaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ZambiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ZimbabweDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005

North America

BermudaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CanadaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MexicoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
USADisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BelizeDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
British Virgin IslandsDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Cayman IslandsDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Costa RicaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CubaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CuraçaoDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
DominicaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Dominican RepublicDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
El SalvadorDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuadeloupeDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuatemalaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
HaitiDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
HondurasDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
JamaicaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MartiniqueDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
NicaraguaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PanamaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Saint Kitts and NevisDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Trinidad and TobagoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005

South America

ArgentinaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BoliviaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BrazilDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ChileDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ColombiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EcuadorDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Falkland IslandsDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
French GuianaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuyanaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ParaguayDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PeruDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UruguayDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
VenezuelaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005


AndorraDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
AustriaLast reported1979OIE Handistatus, 2005
BelarusDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BelgiumLast reported1993OIE Handistatus, 2005
Bosnia-HercegovinaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BulgariaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CroatiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CyprusDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Czech RepublicDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
DenmarkDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EstoniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
FinlandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
FranceLast reported1983OIE Handistatus, 2005
GermanyLast reported1985OIE Handistatus, 2005
GreeceLast reported1979OIE Handistatus, 2005
HungaryDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IcelandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IrelandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Isle of Man (UK)Disease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ItalyReported present or known to be presentOIE, 2000; OIE Handistatus, 2005
JerseyDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LatviaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LiechtensteinDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LithuaniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LuxembourgDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MacedoniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MaltaLast reported1978OIE Handistatus, 2005
MoldovaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
NetherlandsLast reported1994OIE Handistatus, 2005
NorwayDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PolandLast reported1972OIE Handistatus, 2005
PortugalNativeOIE, 2004; OIE Handistatus, 2005
RomaniaLast reported1985OIE Handistatus, 2005
Russian FederationDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SlovakiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SloveniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SpainLast reported1993OIE Handistatus, 2005
SwedenDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SwitzerlandLast reported1975OIE Handistatus, 2005
UKLast reported1982OIE Handistatus, 2005
-Northern IrelandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UkraineLast reported1977OIE Handistatus, 2005
Yugoslavia (former)Disease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)Disease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005


AustraliaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
French PolynesiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
New CaledoniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
New ZealandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SamoaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
VanuatuDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Wallis and Futuna IslandsNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005


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In typical cases, lesions are first noticed at the junction of the heel and the coronary band. The whole of the coronary band may eventually be involved and the lesions may spread to the metatarsal and metacarpal regions. The horn and sole may be underrun so extensively that the claw(s) slough off. In lactating sows, lesions on the udder and teats can also be seen. Occasionally, the skin of the thorax and abdomen is involved. Lesions in the mouth, on the lips and snout (see pictures) occur in up to 10% of cases. Those on the snout are mostly on the dorsal face of the rostrum and may be haemorrhagic in appearance. Tongue lesions are transient and heal rapidly (Hedger and Mann, 1989). In experimentally infected animals a nonsuppurative meningo-encephalitis may occur, but this does not result in signs of impaired central nervous system function (Chu et al., 1979).


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After suspect signs of a vesicular disease in pigs, the farm should be treated as suspected of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) until proven otherwise. Although virus isolation on IBRS-2 cells (De Castro, 1964) is considered the most sensitive method for virus identification (Dawe et al., 1973). The amount of virus in vesicular material is very high and can therefore easily be identified by antigen detection using an ELISA (Hamblin et al., 1984). In addition to IBRS-2 cells, SK6, PK-15 and primary or secondary porcine kidney cells are also susceptible to SVDV (Nardelli et al., 1968; Callens and De Clercq, 1999). High amounts (> 103.5 plaque forming units) of swine vesicular disease virus (SVDV) induce nervous signs leading to paralysis and death in 1-day-old mice inoculated intracerebrally or intraperitoneally (Nardelli et al., 1968). Virus isolation takes one to several days, in contrast to antigen detection using the complement fixation test or ELISA, which can be performed within 4 h (Hamblin et al., 1984). Both the complement fixation test as well as the ELISA can be used on vesicular material from suspected pigs or they can be used to type virus isolated in cell cultures; the ELISA is much more sensitive than the complement fixation test. Using a RT-PCR (Lin et al., 1997; Núñez et al., 1998; Callens and De Clercq, 1999) the viral genome can be detected. This technique sometimes produces false positive results due to contamination with the product of previous PCR reactions. RT-PCR, however, can be the test of choice if large numbers of faeces samples have to be tested. ELISA and virus isolation are currently still the preferred techniques for the laboratory diagnosis of suspected vesicular material (OIE, 1996).

In the aftermath of an outbreak, detection of specific antibodies is essential to prove that no infected farms have been missed. After an SVDV infection, high titres of neutralising antibodies are found (Nardelli et al., 1968). Neutralisation tests, however, are laborious and therefore radial immunodiffusion and ELISA tests have been developed (Golding et al. 1976; Hamblin and Crowther, 1982; Armstrong and Barnett, 1989). Both tests are easier to perform than the neutralisation test, but produce more false positive results. It has been shown that the specificity of the ELISA could be increased by using monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) (Brocchi et al., 1995; Chénard et al., 1998). The first MAb based test has therefore been adopted as a standard test for international trade by the OIE (1996).

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Oral mucosal ulcers, vesicles, plaques, pustules, erosions, tears Sign
Digestive Signs / Tongue ulcers, vesicles, erosions, sores, blisters, cuts, tears Sign
General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia Pigs:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Forelimb lameness, stiffness, limping fore leg Sign
General Signs / Generalized lameness or stiffness, limping Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb lameness, stiffness, limping hind leg Sign
General Signs / Lameness, stiffness, stilted gait in birds Pigs:All Stages Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Forefoot pain, front foot Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Hindfoot pain, rear foot Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Defective growth of nail, claw, hoof Pigs:All Stages Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Nail, claw, hoof sloughing, separation Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Nail, claw, hoof, abscess, ulcer, under-run Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin erythema, inflammation, redness Pigs:All Stages Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin ulcer, erosion, excoriation Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin vesicles, bullae, blisters Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis

Disease Course

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The disease

Strains of swine vesicular disease virus (SVDV) vary in virulence, and the disease may be subclinical, mild or severe. The latter is usually only seen when pigs are housed on a concrete floor in humid conditions (Kodama et al., 1980; Hedger and Mann, 1989; Kanno et al., 1999). Clinical disease after an SVD infection is restricted to pigs. In pigs infected with SVDV, vesicles appear around the coronary bands (see pictures), on the skin of the metacarpus and metatarsus, and to a lesser extent on the snout, tongue and lips. Lesions are indistinguishable from those induced by a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) infection. This is the main reason why SVD is considered important, and any outbreak of vesicular disease in pigs must be assumed to be FMD until proven otherwise.

Sudden death, due to heart degeneration, which is often observed in young piglets affected with FMD, is not seen in SVD. Clinical signs are only seen on the skin of the feet and the mammary gland. SVDV can however be isolated from faeces (it is an enterovirus) so viral replication is found in the digestive tract. SVDV can be found in semen (reproductive tract); however, infection with virologically positive semen is not possible. Clinical signs of the nervous system are always absent.


It has been suggested that SVDV enters the pig through the skin or the mucosa of the digestive tract (Chu et al., 1979; Lai et al., 1979; Mann and Hutchings, 1980). Experimental SVDV infection can lead to clinical signs within 2 days and the virus has been isolated from a wide range of tissues (Burrows et al., 1974a; Chu et al., 1979; Lai et al., 1979, Dekker et al., 1995). SVDV has a strong tropism for epithelial tissues, but also in the myocardium and the brain SVDV titres significantly exceed those detected in plasma. Therefore, epithelial tissues, myocardium and brain are probably the main sites of virus replication (Chu et al., 1979; Lai et al., 1979). Lymph nodes may also contain high titres of SVDV after experimental infection. It is not known, however, whether these tissues were merely positive, because of the drainage of virus or because of virus replication. Immunofluorescence staining and histological studies have demonstrated that SVDV first replicates in epithelial cells of the stratum spinosum of the epidermis, and then in a later stage also in cells of the stratum granulosum (Chu et al., 1979; Lai et al., 1979). Using the immunofluorescence test, no antigen has been detected in the epidermis of the ventral part of the tongue. This is consistent with the fact that lesions in the thin epithelium on the ventral part of the tongue are not seen in SVD infections. The same applies to FMD infections. In-situ hybridisation has demonstrated that FMDV genome was present in a large number of epidermal tissues after FMD infection, irrespective of whether or not it was a predilection site of vesicular lesions (Brown et al., 1995). This demonstrates that FMD grows in more cells than those previously identified, but the ventral part of the tongue has not been studied. In-situ hybridisation has been developed for SVD (Mulder et al., 1997), but has not extensively been used in pathogenesis studies. It can be expected that if an SVDV infection is also studied using in-situ hybridisation, more tissues can be identified which can propagate the virus.


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An epidemiological field study in the UK revealed that the main source of infection was movement of pigs (48%), partly because infected pigs were transported (16%), contaminated transport vehicles were used (21%) or due to contacts at markets (11%). A second source of infection (15%) was feeding of contaminated waste food (Hedger and Mann, 1989). The exceptionally high stability of the virus outside the host is the reason that indirect contacts, like transport vehicles or waste food, play an essential role in the epidemiology of swine vesicular disease (SVD). Studies on swine vesicular disease virus (SVDV) transmission within a farm showed that spread from one pen to another may not occur in the absence of a shared open drainage system, or without frequent movement of pigs between pens; SVD is a 'pen disease' rather than a farm disease (Hedger and Mann, 1989). In the 1992 outbreaks in the Netherlands, the distribution of serologically positive pigs in both fattening farms and two of the three breeding farms confirmed the previous description, because serologically positive pigs were mostly located in a few adjacent pens (Dekker and Terpstra, 1996; Dekker et al., 2000b). In one breeding farm, however, a more or less random distribution of serologically positive pigs was found.

Because infected pigs are instantly culled it is not easy to study the transmission of SVD in the field. IgM and IgG ELISAs have been developed to study the time the virus was introduced (Brocchi et al., 1995; Dekker et al., 2000b). With these ELISAs, however, the exact time of introduction can not be assessed, when the infection has taken place more than 4 weeks before the collection of samples. Analysis of the Dutch 1992 and 1994 outbreaks, however, revealed that infection had been on most farms for a longer period than was previously thought (Dekker et al., 2000b). In contrast to foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) infections in ruminants, persistence of SVD in infected pigs is not common, there is one report that the virus can be recovered up to 126 days after infection (Lin et al., 1998), but it has been difficult to reproduce these findings (World Reference Laboratory for foot-and-mouth, Pirbright, Woking, UK, personal communication, 2000). FMDV can persist up to 3 years in cattle and up to 9 months in sheep. These FMDV carriers are thought to play a role in the epidemiology of FMD (Salt, 1993). Recently there has also been a report on the persistence of FMDV in pigs (Mezencio et al., 1999).

Impact: Economic

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Outbreaks of swine vesicular disease (SVD) in the Netherlands in 1992 and subsequent complaints from Italy, accusing the Netherlands of exporting the disease to their country, led to an export ban of live pigs and pigmeat for one month. This export ban imposed by the EU led to a loss of income of approximately US $17 million. To prevent more unjustified export bans the Netherlands started a nation-wide surveillance programme in 1993 costing approximately US $3 million per year. Italy also has a surveillance program, with slightly higher costs. These economic costs are in most cases the only costs, the clinical signs do not have a very high economic impact.

Disease Treatment

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Treatment of SVD is not necessary or possible. Most lesions heal completely. Secondary bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.

Prevention and Control

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When swine vesicular disease (SVD) was first recognized, differentiating it from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), vesicular stomatitis and vesicular exanthema was not very easy. Therefore it was generally accepted that SVD could not be tolerated in countries normally free from the other diseases. For this reason, SVD was placed on the list of notifiable diseases of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). However, it was delisted by OIE in 2014. SVD is a notifiable disease in the European Union (EU) and in case of an outbreak, it is strictly controlled both by 'stamping out' and restrictions on livestock movement. Stamping out involves slaughter and destruction of the infected herds, followed by tracing and surveillance of pigs on other premises that may have been exposed to infection. Following slaughter and disposal of pigs, the premises are cleaned and disinfected. Good disinfection is difficult, especially in farms with a lot of crevasses in the floors and walls. Several cases of recurring infection have been reported after stamping out, and sometimes the infection only occurred in the pens where the infected pigs were housed the first time (A Berlinzani, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia, Italy, personal communication, 2000). The costs of control measures and trade restrictions can be very high. In 1993 the export of Dutch pigs was blocked for one month (decision 93/128/EEC), the cost of loss of export was estimated to be approximately 16 million Euro (Terpstra et al., 1995). Because of the economic losses, or the public health consequences, all list-A diseases should be rapidly recognized, diagnosed and reported.

SVD, however, can be mild and the first cases may be missed. If the farmer or the veterinary practitioner does not recognize the disease, a large proportion of the pigs might become infected, and the disease might spread to other farms. Therefore serosurveillance is essential, especially in the aftermath of an outbreak, to detect subclinical- or undisclosed clinical infections, or to prove the absence of virus (Tokui et al., 1975; Hendrie et al., 1978; Pappous et al., 1980; Larenaudie et al., 1982). To prove freedom of SVD, the Netherlands has adopted a serosurveillance programme, in which farms are clinically examined and serologically tested three times a year. Currently, the costs of the SVD serosurveillance are over 3 million Euro per year. Italy is the only other country in the EU performing a serosurveillance programme, all the others rely on detection of SVD by farmers or veterinarians who recognise the clinical signs.

SVD vaccines have been developed for the control of clinical disease (Delagneau et al., 1974; Mowat et al., 1974; Gourreau et al., 1975; McKercher and Graves, 1976). Apart from monovalent SVD vaccines, there are also combinations with FMD (McKercher and Graves, 1976; Mitev et al., 1978) and recently a SVD sub-unit vaccine has been described. This latter vaccine was not very efficacious (Jiménez-Clavero et al., 1998). Although the inactivated virus vaccines were efficacious in protection against clinical signs, it has not been evaluated whether it can reduce wild-type virus transmission. No SVD vaccine is commercially available and to date vaccination of pigs has not been undertaken in the field.


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