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Open Access Research article

Risk factors and epidemiological characteristics of new neonatal porcine diarrhoea syndrome in four Danish herds

Hanne Kongsted12*, Nils Toft3 and Jens Peter Nielsen2

  • * Corresponding author: Hanne Kongsted

Author Affiliations

1 Danish Pig Research Centre, Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Vinkelvej 13, 8620 Kjellerup, Denmark

2 Department of Large Animal Sciences, HERD – Centre for Herd-oriented Education, Research and Development, University of Copenhagen, Groennegaardsvej 2,1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark

3 National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Bülowsvej 27, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark

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BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:151  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-151

Published: 10 July 2014



The epidemiology of New Neonatal Porcine Diarrhoea Syndrome (NNPDS) was studied in four selected herds. A total of 941 new born piglets in 86 litters were evaluated for five consecutive days. NNPDS is a newly emerged syndrome, characterized by diarrhoea within the first week of life, which is un-responsive to antibiotics and not associated with known pathogens. The aetiology behind the syndrome is unknown, and specific risk factors predisposing piglets to develop NNPDS also remain to be determined.

The study evaluated sow and piglet-level risk factors for developing NNPDS and described the epidemiologic characteristics within four herds previously diagnosed with the syndrome. NNPDS was defined as diarrhoea at any time-point during the second to fifth day of life.


NNPDS was observed in a total of 60% (range: 39%-89%) of first parity piglets and 36% (range: 19-65%) of piglets born by mature sows. In total of 26% of piglets had liquid faeces on the day of birth. Approximately half of these piglets developed NNPDS. In the majority of cases (50-70% of cases within herds) symptoms started on the second or third day of life. Piglets in Herd 1 had12.8 times higher probability of developing NNPDS than piglets in Herd 4. First parity piglets had a 4.1 higher probability of developing NNPDS than piglets born by mature sows. Birth weight and faecal consistency on the day of birth were minor risk factors, each significant within one herd.


The most important factors associated with NNPDS were herd of origin and sow-parity. The reason for one of the herds experiencing a considerably more severe outbreak than the others was not explained by factors addressed in this study.

The epidemiological pattern of diarrhoea varied a lot between herds; however, in all herds first parity piglets seemed predisposed. This association may be explained by an infectious background of the syndrome, but further studies are needed to explain this association.