Porcine circoviruses (PCVs) belong to the genus Circovirus, family Circoviridae, and are the smallest non-enveloped, single stranded, negative sense, circular DNA viruses that replicate autonomously in mammalian cells. Two types of PCV have been characterised, PCV1 and PCV2 and these two viruses show 83% sequence identity at open reading frame (ORF) 1 and 67% identity at ORF2. PCV1 is a non-pathogenic virus of pigs. In contrast, PCV2 has emerged as a major pathogen of swine around the world. The discovery of PCV1 and how the subsequent studies on this virus eventually led to the recognition and characterisation of PCV2, and the disease scenarios associated with PCV2, serve as a model of how multidisciplinary collaboration among field veterinarians, diagnosticians and researchers can lead to the rapid characterisation and control of a globally important emerging disease.
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