Objective—To evaluate retention of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) in houseflies for various time frames and temperatures.
Sample Population—Fifteen 2-week-old pigs, two 10-week-old pigs, and laboratory-cultivated houseflies.
Procedure—In an initial experiment, houseflies were exposed to PRRSV; housed at 15°, 20°, 25°, and 30°C; and tested at various time points. In a second experiment to determine dynamics of virus retention, houseflies were exposed to PRRSV and housed under controlled field conditions for 48 hours. Changes in the percentage of PRRSV-positive flies and virus load per fly were assessed over time, and detection of infective virus at 48 hours after exposure was measured. Finally, in a third experiment, virus loads were measured in houseflies allowed to feed on blood, oropharyngeal washings, and nasal washings obtained from experimentally infected pigs.
Results—In experiment 1, PRRSV retention in houseflies was proportional to temperature. In the second experiment, the percentage of PRRSV-positive houseflies and virus load per fly decreased over time; however, infective PRRSV was found in houseflies 48 hours after exposure. In experiment 3, PRRSV was detected in houseflies allowed to feed on all 3 porcine body fluids.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For the conditions of this study, houseflies did not support PRRSV replication. Therefore, retention of PRRSV in houseflies appears to be a function of initial virus load after ingestion and environmental temperature. These factors may impact the risk of insect-borne spread of PRRSV among farms. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1517–1525)