Effect of pooling family oral fluids on the probability of PRRSV RNA detection by RT-rtPCR

Onyekachukwu H. Osemeke, Eduardo de Freitas Costa, Marcelo N. Almeida, Giovani Trevisan, Arka P. Ghosh, Gustavo S. Silva, Daniel C.L. Linhares*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Family oral fluids (FOFs) are an aggregate sample type shown to be a cost-efficient and convenient option for determining the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) status of weaning age pigs. This study investigates the effect of pooling PRRSV-positive FOF samples with PRRSV-negative FOF samples at different levels (1/3, 1/5, 1/10, 1/20) on the probability of PRRSV RNA detection by reverse-transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-rtPCR). Mathematical models were built to assess how much the probability of RT-rtPCR PRRSV detection changed with increasing proportion of PRRSV-positive samples present within pools and how partially sampling a farrowing room influenced the probability of RT-rtPCR detection of PRRSV RNA in pooled samples at different prevalence scenarios. A general example of a guideline for FOF-based sampling under different prevalence scenarios to detect PRRSV RNA by RT-rtPCR with at least 95 % certainty is presented. At the sample level, the probability of detecting PRRSV RNA by RT-rtPCR decreased from 100 % to 87 %, 68 %, and 26 % when diluting up to 1/20 for PRRSV positive FOF having an initial Cycle threshold (Ct) below 34, between 34 and 36, or above 36, respectively. When PRRSV prevalence is near-zero (1 or 2 litters positive out of 56), the most cost-efficient farrowing room sampling strategy to detect PRRSV RNA with at least 95 % certainty was pooling FOF samples up to 1/10; at higher prevalence (≥ 3 of 56 litters positive), the most cost-efficient strategy was submitting samples in pools of 20. Subsampling a farrowing room for FOF pools was also demonstrated to be a valuable cost-saving strategy. Overall, based on the conditions of this study, pooling FOFs up to 1/20 is a valid option in situations of cost constraint and regardless of pooling level chosen, capturing as many litters as possible improves the probability of PRRSV detection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105701
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Family oral fluid (FOF)
  • Monitoring
  • Pooling
  • Swine


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