Stillborn and mummified swine fetuses from swine farms experiencing reproductive problems were investigated for evidence of infection with encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus by fetal serology, virus isolation, and histopathologic examination. Fetal sera or thoracic fluids of 478 abnormal fetuses collected during January through December 1987 were tested for the presence of antibody specific to EMC virus. Of 478 samples tested, 175 (36.6%) had EMC virus serum neutralizing antibody titers of 1:64 or greater. The samples positive for EMC virus antibody were obtained from 38 swine farms located in 9 states in the United States. In addition to serologic observations, tissue samples of some abnormal fetuses were examined for the presence of virus and histopathologic lesions. The EMC virus was isolated in 1 case from the fetuses of an aborted litter. The isolate was serologically identical to a reference EMC virus. Nonsuppurative encephalitis and myocarditis were observed in the fetal samples collected from 2 different herds. Thoracic fluid of 1 stillborn pig with lesions was positive for EMC virus antibody at a titer of 1:512. We suggest that a widespread reproductive problem recently experienced in several major swine-producing areas of the United States may have been caused by EMC virus infection.
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