The objective of this study was to investigate the dynamics of PRRSV infection and to quantify transmission within a breeding herd, and its impact on herd performance. For this purpose a longitudinal study was performed in a closed breeding herd of 115 sows. Statistical methods and Monte Carlo simulations based on stochastic SIR models were used to analyse the observational data. Moreover, a case-control study was performed to determine whether seroconversion of sows during gestation was associated with aberrant litters. The transmission parameter R was estimated to be 3.0 (95% confidence interval 1.5-6.0) for the model version based on the most plausible assumptions that the infectious period lasts 56 days and no lifelong immunity exists after infection. Based on simulations using a breeding herd of equal size the average time-to-extinction was estimated to be 6 years; using a herd of twice the size, it was 80 years. Furthermore, in contrast to the epidemic phase of the disease, the endemic phase was not detrimental to herd performance.