PRRS virus strain variations

At the moment, two main PRRSV genotypes are recognized: the European (EU) and the North American (NA) genotypes. Sequence comparison has shown significant genetic differences between them.

In North America only the NA type is found, although there has been a report of the isolation of a European-like genotype (Ropp et al. 2004).

In Europe, the EU type predominates. To date, no field strains of the NA type have been isolated in Western Europe. In those countries where the NA type is present, it was most likely introduced in 1996 through the use of a live attenuated PRRSV vaccine (Madsen et al, 1998; Oleksiewicz et al, 1998).

In Asia and South America, both genotypes have been isolated.

Within each genotype some differences are seen. Examples of the differences between the various strains are shown in Table 1 and Figure 1.

Table 1: Nucleotide homology of various strains compared with the North American VR2332 strain
StrainCountry of originPercentage homology
VR2332USA100
TaiwanTaiwan97
807/94Canada92
OlotSpain66
l10The Netherlands66

Figure 1 shows a phylogenetic tree constructed from the data in Table 1. It is obvious that there are two serotypes: the North American serotype (with the American strain VR2332, the Canadian strain Quebec 807/94 and the Taiwan strain) and the European serotype (with the Dutch Isolate 10 and the Spanish strain Olot).

phylogenetic tree prrsv

Figure 1. Phylogenetic tree from 5 PRRSV strains from various countries

  1. The distance between the different places depends on the differences in amino acid sequence.
  2. The place indicates whether the isolate is closer to or further away from other isolates.

Some more recent data offers us the following picture (T. Harder). This analysis shows that the ORF 5 homology between the recent European field strains and 2 vaccine strains is:

  • Porcilis PRRS > 86-98%,
  • NA type live vaccine < 64%
Harder tree PRRSV

ORF 5 homology between the recent European field strains and 2 vaccine strains