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Ben Williams

Knowledge Transfer Senior Manager

AHDB Pork Knowledge Exchange

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The use of oral fluid from pig populations for the diagnosis and monitoring of infectious disease

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Research partner: Newcastle University

Sponsor: AHDB Pork-funded studentship (Lorna Dawson)

Duration: 2011 - 2014 

Aims and objectives

  • To develop diagnostic testing for the detection of European strains of PRRSv and Salmonella infection in UK pig herds, using oral fluid (OF)
  • To find out how to get good quality oral fluid samples that truly represent the total population for large group sizes of pigs. 

Findings to date

  • Provision of multiple cotton ropes may improve representation of pen-based OF samples in weaned, but not finishing, pigs in straw-based systems
  • A single cotton rope can result in a pen sample representative of 40% of the total population, approximately four times more than current blood testing recommendations
  • FTA cards* may provide a simple and safe means of storing/shipping porcine OF for PRRSv testing without the need for chilling
  • Porcine OF shows good, but not total, agreement with blood serum for anti-PRRS antibody testing
  • The next stage of the project is serial OF collection following weaned pens through growth for anti-PRRSv antibody detection and real time PCR testing of dry stored field OF to validate FTA card* method for PRRSv monitoring. 

* Flinders Technology Associates (FTA) cards: bind and store nucleic acids at ambient temperatures. 

Further information

Research into Action factsheet 13: Measurement of Acute Phase proteins

PhD seminar presentation (2013) 

Find out more about PhD student Lorna Dawson here