Objective—To determine whether flies can acquire porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and disperse the virus throughout a designated area.
Animals—60 four-month-old pigs.
Procedure—On day 0, 28 of 60 pigs were inoculated with PRRSV MN 30-100 (index variant). On the same day, 100,000 pupae of ochre-eyed houseflies and 100,000 pupae of red-eyed (wild-type) houseflies were placed in the swine facility for a release-recapture study. Flies were recaptured at 2 locations within the swine facility, 6 locations immediately outside the facility, and 30 locations 0.4, 0.8, 1.3, 1.7, 1.9, and 2.3 km from the facility. Traps were emptied on days 2, 7, 8, 10, and 14. Samples derived from flies were tested by use of a polymerase chain reaction assay, virus DNA was sequenced, and viruses were tested for infectivity by means of a swine bioassay.
Results—PRRSV RNA homologous to the index PRRSV was detected in trapped flies collected inside and immediately outside the facility and from 9 of 48 samples collected at 0.4 km, 8 of 24 samples collected at 0.8 km, 5 of 24 samples collected at 1.3 km, and 3 of 84 samples collected at > 1.7 km from the facility. Two samples collected at 0.8 km contained genetically diverse variants of PRRSV. Swine bioassays revealed the virus in flies was infectious.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Flies appeared to become contaminated with PRRSV from infected pigs and transported the virus ≥ 1.7 km. Flyborn transmission may explain how PRRSV is seasonally transported between farms. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1284–1292)