Open Access Research article

Seroprevalence of porcine torovirus (PToV) in Spanish farms

Julio Alonso-Padilla14, Jaime Pignatelli2, Meritxell Simon-Grifé3, Susana Plazuelo1, Jordi Casal3 and Dolores Rodríguez1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, CSIC, C/Darwin 3, Madrid, 28049, Spain

2 Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neurobiology, Instituto Cajal, CSIC, Av. Doctor Arce 37, Madrid, 28002, Spain

3 Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA), UAB-IRTA and Department of Animal Health, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Barcelona, 08193, Spain

4 Current address: Department of Microbiology, New York University School of Medicine, 341 East 25th ST, New York, 10010, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:675  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-675

Published: 5 December 2012



Torovirus infections have been associated with gastroenteritis and diarrhea in horses, cows, pigs and humans, especially in young animals and in children. Although asymptomatic in a large percentage of cases, however toroviruses may pose a potential threat to worsen disease outcome in concurrent infections with other enteric pathogens. Previous studies based on the analysis of limited numbers of samples indicated high seroprevalences against porcine torovirus (PToV) in various European countries. The aim of this work was to perform a seroepidemiological survey of PToV in Spanish farms in order to define the seroprevalence against this virus.


Serum samples (n = 2664) from pigs of different ages were collected from 100 Spanish farms coming from 10 regions that concentrate 96.1% of the 3392 farms with 80 or more sows censused in Spain. Samples were screened by means of an indirect enzyme-linked immune-sorbent assay (ELISA) based on a recombinant PToV nucleocapsid protein as antigen. The analysis of the whole serum collection yielded a total of 95.7% (2550/2664) seropositive samples. The highest prevalence (99.6%, 1382/1388) and ELISA values (average O.D. ± standard deviation) were observed in the sows (1.03±0.36) and the lowest prevalence (59.4%, 98/165) and anti-PToV IgG levels (0.45±0.16) were found amongst 3-week-old piglets. Both ELISA reactivity values and seroprevalence percentages rose quickly with piglet’s age from 3 to 11 weeks of age; the seroprevalence was 99.3% (2254/2270) when only the samples from sows and pigs over 11-weeks of age were considered. Antibodies against PToV were detected in all analyzed farms.


This report describes the results of the largest torovirus seroepidemiological survey in farmed swine performed so far. Overall, the seroprevalence against PToV in animals older than 11 weeks of age was >99%, indicating that this virus is endemic in pig herds from Spain.

Porcine torovirus; Seroprevalence; Pigs; Spain