The Minnesota Rapid Agriculture Response Fund has approved $300,000 for University of Minnesota research to combat porcine circovirus associated disease in the state.

Universityof Minnesota researchers identified the urgent need for additional research after PCVAD epidemics occurred in several locations in the United States and caused severe loss in other countries, including Spain, the United Kingdom and Canada, specifically Quebec. Circovirus infection in pigs results in poor growth, weight loss, emaciation and increased mortality. Generally, fewer than 5 percent of pigs in an affected herd show clinical signs but morbidity and mortality can reach 40 percent. Most pigs that show signs of the disease do not recover or respond to treatment.

Funds will let University of Minnesota researchers investigate the epidemiology of porcine circovirus infections in boar studs and determine the role of non-porcine circovirus factors in causing PCVAD. Researchers will develop objective monitoring procedures, including diagnostic testing and sequencing, using boar-stud serum, semen and blood.

“Boar studs have enormous potential to impact the health of the entire swine industry. They, therefore, warrant urgent investigation to understand if circovirus can be transmitted in the semen and, if so, how frequently transmission occurs,” says Trevor Ames, chairman of the university's veterinary population medicine department. “By concentrating efforts on understanding how to stop the spread of the virus in semen, University of Minnesota researchers will potentially save the state's swine industry millions of dollars.”

The Rapid Agriculture Response Fund, authorized by the Minnesota Legislature, creates a readily accessible source of assistance to accelerate research supporting Minnesota’s agricultural industry. For more information about the RAR, log onto

Source: University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine