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Reovirus-like agent associated with fatal diarrhea in neonatal pigs.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


Large numbers of a reovirus-like agent were visualized with electron microscopy in bacteria-free gut homogenates obtained from piglets with a fatal diarrhea resembling transmissible gastroenteritis. The syndrome, of vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and death, was reproduced in piglets artificially infected with these bacteria-free gut homogenates. Reovirus-like particles persisted in serial piglet passage and none was seen in uninfected, asymptomatic controls. Hyperimmune sera (made in recovered piglets) aggregated the reovirus-like particles, as judged by immunoelectron microscopy, and neutralized the infectious agent. The cytoplasm in enterocytes on infected intestinal epithelium fluoresced when this hyperimmune sera was used in an indirect fluorescent antibody test. Feeding cow colostrum or diets containing porcine gamma globulin protected infected piglets. No cytopathogenic effect was noted in infected tissue cultures, nor did this agent affect neonatal guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, and rats. The agent did not agglutinate human O or A erythrocytes.

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