Scientists, in the July 2013 Journal of Wildlife Diseases, reporting on a three-year study of pseudorabies in feral swine, found that the disease appears to be widespread in the wild, according to a newsletter report by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

Pseudorabies can afflict a wide range of mammals and avian hosts. But swine are the only natural hosts of the virus.

The commercial swine herd in the United States attained pseudorabies-free status in 2004, which was important due to the economic value of domestic production and its significance in maintaining U.S. pork trade.

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However, feral swine remain competent hosts of pseudorabies and represent a constant threat for reintroducing the virus into the commercial industry, according to the authors.

In order to better assess feral swine infection status across the United States, the team of scientists collected 8,498 serum samples from feral swine between Oct. 1, 2009 and Sept. 30, 2012.

Their findings revealed that 18% of the wild pigs had positive antibodies for pseudorabies in 25 of 35 states where samples were collected. This indicated that transmission risk is widespread.

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