New tool diagnoses PRRS quicker than before


The reporting system is a working effort between academic institutes and laboratories to detect porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome



Veterinary diagnostic laboratories are now utilizing a new web-based diagnostic tool to help quickly detect porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). The syndrome is a highly contagious virus that costs the United States swine industry 100s of millions of dollars annually, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.1

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA),1,2 scientists at Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Ohio Animal Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory, Purdue University, South Dakota State University, and the University of Minnesota are utilizing a $1 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The laboratories and academic institutions are using the Swine Disease Reporting System (SDRS) to rapidly detect any new strains of PRRS.

“This collaborative effort between academic institutions and veterinary labs, supported by USDA funding, underscores the collective commitment to tackling animal health challenges, empowering swine veterinarians and producers as end users,” said Andreia Arruda, DVM, MSC, PhD, associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and chair of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ (AASV) PRRS Committee, in the organizational release.1

The SDRS is a collaboration between 6 National Animal Health Laboratory Network, accredited veterinary diagnostic laboratories, and collects, collates, and monitors diagnostic data of 9 infectious agents within swine herds in the United States. The system also helps keep farms, producers, productions systems, participating laboratories, and veterinarians the systems collects data from confidential.

The goal of SDRS is to aggregate swine diagnostic data and then report it through internet dashboards and monthly reports breaking down the dynamics of pathogen detection by polymerase chain reactions-based assays over a period, specimen, geographical area, and age group.

SDRS also recently announced the launch of the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (SDRS BLAST Tool), a web-based tool that allows veterinarians, producers, and other users to compare PRRS genetic sequences with those already in the system.1

“The launch of the SDRS BLAST Tool represents an important advancement on information technology for PRRS understanding, prevention, and control across various geographical levels,” explained Arruda.1

SDRS has detected 133 new PRRS sequences between 2010-2023, with many new strains coming from samples collected in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota. The most common new sequences detected were in grow-finish pigs, highlighting the importance of the age group on the ecology of PRRS as well as other pathogens. This information can help improve biosecurity and biocontainment to mitigate risks of new strains emerging.

“Collaboration with industry stakeholders is critical to a timely disease response, and this project, in part through the SDRS Blast Tool, is building relationships needed on a day-to-day basis for endemic disease management,” said Michelle Colby, DVM, MS, national program leader for animal biosecurity at NIFA. “Relationships that will be essential if we are ever faced with the need to respond to a transboundary or emerging disease within the U.S. swine industry.”1


  1. PRRS diagnosis quicker thanks to new online tool. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. June 3, 2024. Accessed June 3, 2024.
  2. McCafferty C. Researchers develop rapid detection tool for swine disease. dvm360. Published April 30, 2024. Accessed June 3, 2024.
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