PRRS, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, is a viral disease that can infect pigs.
PRRS manifests itself in different ways in different groups of animals. Sows return to estrus and abort their foetuses. Piglets are weak at birth, exhibiting poor growth and increased mortality. Pigs for fattening may develop serious respiratory infections. You may not be able to tell by looking at an animal whether it is ill. Instead, the first indication of disease you may notice is poorer production data.
PRRS is a difficult disease to manage as it is very contagious and early indications of disease are often unclear. This means that the disease may spread to many herds before it is detected.
At present, Sweden is free of PRRS. One outbreak of PRRS was successfully managed in 2007.
In case of a suspected infection
If you suspect that animals may be infected, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Until you receive further instructions from your veterinarian, you must take measures to prevent and reduce any further spread to other animals.
Preventing and reducing contagion
The disease is primarily transmitted through direct contact between animals, such as when animals are purchased, but there is also a risk of transmission through indirect contact via people, equipment and vehicles.
There is a monitoring programme in place to ensure that PRRS has not returned to Sweden. The monitoring programme is managed by Gård & Djurhälsan (Farm & Animal Health).
National rules to prevent the spread of PRRS
The national rules aim to prevent the spread of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) among pigs in Swedish holdings and other establishments.
The rules apply to you if you work with pigs in Sweden, regardless of whether you keep animals, transport animals, or operate an abattoir.
The rules specify what you need to do concerning PRRS when bringing pigs into your establishment and apply whether or not the animals are coming from Sweden or from another country.
The requirements which you are to fulfil differ depending on whether or not the establishment, from which the animals are coming, is free of PRRS.
Pigs from establishments free of PRRS
If you accept pigs from establishments which are considered free of PRRS, you do not need to take any special measures relating to PRRS. Swedish pig holdings are generally considered free of PRRS. This is true on the condition that any pigs that are brought in from other countries have been taken into the establishment in an epidemiologically safe manner, meaning as of 1 September 2021 that they have been introduced in accordance with the national rules.
In order that an establishment is considered free of PRRS, the following requirements must be met:
- There shall be a system for monitoring and control which complies with a defined standard in accordance with the regulations (SJVFS 2021:24). In short, this means that the pigs should be regularly monitored by a competent authority or an independent organisation with veterinary expertise, or by a specific veterinarian who is well acquainted with the establishment.
- All suspected cases of PRRS have been examined by a veterinarian, and there have been no positive cases of PRRS.
- No pigs have been vaccinated for PRRS in the past year.
- Pigs brought into the establishment come from establishments that are considered free of PRRS.
All of the rules that apply in order that an establishment is considered free of PRRS can be found in Chapter 3 and in the annex in regulation 2021:24.
At an official inspection, you must be able to present veterinary certificates proving that these requirements are met.
Isolation of pigs from establishments which are not free of PRRS
If you take in pigs from establishments which are not free of PRRS, there are certain requirements that you must meet. Among other things, you must isolate the animals in a PRRS isolation facility for at least 28 days.
You can find the requirements that apply for the testing of pigs in the isolation in Chapter 3, sections 4-7, regulation SJVFS 2021:24.
The isolation facility must be approved by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, and you must submit an application for this approval. There is a fee associated with this approval, which you must pay.
You can submit an application relating to PRRS isolation in the e-service Isolation for PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome). The requirements on isolation facilities are specified in Chapter 3, section 8, of the regulation SJVFS 2021:24. In your application, you must describe how the facility has been designed to meet these requirements. This description is to be filled out in the following sections of the e-service:
- Description of the handling of manure in the isolation facility
- Describe maintenance procedures in the isolation facility
- Describe the instructions for staff working in the isolation facility
- Attach a scale drawing of the isolation facility and a scale plan of the entire establishment.
Once the isolation facility has been approved by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, you may use it repeatedly. If you make any changes to your isolation facility, you may need to apply for a renewed approval.
If you have any questions about submitting an application relating to an isolation facility, please contact us at:
Testing of pigs in the isolation facility
When the pigs are in isolation, a veterinarian shall carry out a blood test twice with a minimum of 21 days between the taking of samples for testing, to determine whether the animals have PRRS. The animals may be taken out of isolation and brought into contact with other animals at the establishment only when the test results show that they do not have PRRS.
All of the rules that apply when you accept pigs from establishments which are not free of PRRS can be found in Chapter 3 in the regulation SJVFS 2021:24.
The national rules are not entry requirements from other countries
Please note that the import of pigs from other countries is regulated by EU rules. The EU generally does not apply any requirements relating to PRRS when pigs are moved, except when breeding pigs are moved into and between breeding stations which are approved for semen and embryo operations within the EU.
The Swedish PRRS rules are thus not entry requirements and do not impose any additional requirements on the establishment or on the country from which the animals are coming. This means that according to EU rules, you may bring in animals from establishments in other countries which are not considered free of PRRS. It is only after such animals have arrived at your establishment that you are required to place them in isolation and ensure that they are tested and examined in accordance with the national regulations.
Pigs for slaughter
Pigs from establishments that are not considered free of PRRS, and which are intended for slaughter, are to be transported directly to the abattoir, without contact with other animals, for immediate slaughter. Manure must also be handled in an epidemiologically safe manner at the abattoir.
Revision date: 2023-03-09