Porcine Reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is a globally significant swine disease caused by an arterivirus. The virus replicates in alveolar macrophages of infected pigs, resulting in pneumonia in growing pigs and late-term abortions in sows. Outbreaks occur on disparate farms within an area despite biosecurity measures, suggesting mechanical transport by arthropods. We investigated the vector potential of stable flies, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.) (Diptera: Muscidae), in the transmission of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (family Arteriviridae, genus Arterivirus, PRRSV) under laboratory conditions. Stable flies were collected around PRRS-negative boar stud barns in North Carolina and tested for presence of the virus. Stable flies were collected on alsynite traps placed near the exhaust fan of the close-sided tunnel-ventilated buildings, suggesting blood seeking flies are attracted by olfactory cues. No flies were positive for PRRSV. We assessed transmission of the virus through an infective bite by feeding laboratory reared stable flies on blood containing virus and transferring them to naïve pigs for subsequent bloodmeals. Transmission of the virus to naïve pigs by infective bites failed in all attempts. The volume of blood contained within the closed mouthparts of the stable fly seems to be insufficient to deliver an infective dose of the virus. Stable flies are unlikely to transmit PRRSV from one pig to another while blood feeding. The fate of the virus after a bloodmeal remains to be determined.
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Vol. 48 • No. 4