Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) in Sweden from an exotic to an endemic disease

P. Wallgren*, K. Belák, C. J. Ehlorsson, G. Bergström, M. Lindberg, C. Fossum, G. M. Allan, J. Robertsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) is causally associated with porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) infection of pigs. PCV2 was first demonstrated in Swedish pigs in 1993, although the virus was almost certainly present in pigs in the country before that. Despite this, no signs of PMWS were observed in pigs of Sweden until the first outbreak was reported in 2003. The accumulated number of PMWS-affected herds have increased via 16 (2004) and 41 (2005) to 123 in December 2006. Of these herds, 30 (25%) have now been declared free from PMWS. However, a number of other herds have had individual pigs that have fulfilled the demands for PMWS at necropsy and 52 of these herds have been declared negative on herd basis after treatment for intestinal or respiratory diseases, and/or by correcting shortcomings in management of the herd including feed. Thus, individual cases of the disease have been observed in around 200 herds by the end of 2006 and PMWS is now regarded as an endemic disease in Sweden. The pig population of Sweden is geographically isolated, the density of pigs and the pathogen load in the country is low and the use of growth promoters (low dose antibiotics in feed) was prohibited in 1986 Additionally, the trade of animals in Sweden is organised in a restricted way. Because of these factors it is possible to conduct meaningful real-time studies on the transformation of PMWS in Sweden from being an exotic to an endemic disease in a three year time scale. Initially the PMWS cases were concentrated in the southern part of Sweden, but have gradually spread north. The PMWS-positive herds have, in general, had an effective production, but some management errors have constantly been observed in affected herds. Physical links between affected herds are often missing, and the data generated to date on the PMWS outbreaks in Sweden do not suggest an introduction of a new contagious microbe into the country that is responsible for the PMWS outbreaks, nor does PMWS appear to be spread via semen. In Sweden, intensity in rearing, disease preventing measures and immaturity of the piglets appear to be important as predisposing factors to PMWS and, as such, are discussed in this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-137
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Circovirus
  • Epidemiology
  • Mortality
  • Multifactorial diseases
  • Pigs
  • Porcine circovirus type 2 infections
  • Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome
  • Semen
  • Spread
  • Sweden
  • Swine diseases
  • Transmission
  • Viral diseases
  • Wasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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