In 2015, a new pestivirus was described in pig sera in the United States. This new "atypical porcine pestivirus" (APPV) was later associated with congenital tremor (CT) in newborn piglets. The virus appears to be distributed worldwide, but the limited knowledge of virus diversity and the use of various diagnostic tests prevent direct comparisons. Therefore, we developed an APPV-specific real-time RT-PCR assay in the 5'UTR of the viral genome to investigate both retro- and prospectively the strains present in Switzerland and their prevalence in domestic pigs. Overall, 1080 sera obtained between 1986 and 2018 were analyzed, revealing a virus prevalence of approximately 13% in pigs for slaughter, whereas it was less than 1% in breeding pigs. In the prospective study, APPV was also detected in piglets displaying CT. None of the samples could detect the Linda virus, which is another new pestivirus recently reported in Austria. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis revealed a broad diversity of APP viruses in Switzerland that are considerably distinct from sequences reported from other isolates in Europe and overseas. This study indicates that APPV has already been widely circulating in Switzerland for many years, mainly in young animals, with 1986 being the earliest report of APPV worldwide.
Keywords: APPV; Switzerland; atypical porcine pestivirus; congenital tremor; epidemiology; phylogenetic analysis; prevalence; real-time RT-PCR.