Causal agent

Virus – Rotovirus Double stranded RNA non  enveloped

Type A most common, but many strains.  Also 5 types A-E are known in pigs.

Age group

Clinical signs normally between 7 and 14 days of age. 

Clinical signs unusual over 28 days of age

Clinical signs

No colostral immunity

Severe clinical signs in young pigs below 14 days of age.

Severe profuse diarrhoea.  Diarrhoea watery, yellow, white with flecks of tissue.

Diarrhoea continues 3-5 days and mortality may reach 100%

Colostral immunity

No clinical signs or a mild diarrhoea.

May contribute to other causes of diarrhoea – E. coli for example

scour k1


Watery and yellow diarrhoea

Diarrhoea may also contain vomit



The virus is extremely resistant to temperature, chemicals and disinfectant, pH changes.

The virus will survive 3 months or more in the environment.



The virus is ubiquitous (everywhere). 

Transmission is by the oral-faecal route.

Sows may excrete the virus at the time of farrowing


Post-mortem Lesions


Very watery diarrhoea and dilated small intestines

The small intestinal villi will be shorter – up to 1/10 length of normal

pH of the intestinal contents acidic (E. coli normally alkaline)

Note recovery of intestine may occur within 72 hours so postmortem findings more severe in acute case.


Rotovirus normal  jejunum





Rotovirus atrophy jejunum spb


     Normal small intestine villi

Shortened villi with Rotovirus



Difficult as the organism is common and antibodies are normal

Histological examination of the intestine in acute cases


Sick pigs

Supportive treatment with electrolytes



Essential to ensure that the gilt is provided with experience of the farm’s Rotovirus population so she can pass this immunity on to her piglets


Feedback to sows 6-4 weeks pre-farrowing during outbreak


Review colostrum availability- especially fostering protocols


All-in/all-out and good hygiene between groups will help reduce clinical signs


Available in some countries but many not be effective due to the number of different strains

Common differentials


TGE and EPD.

Play a common role in other piglet diarrhoea’s – E. coli and Coccidiosis



Rotovirus is a common virus of Man, but direct transmission not demonstrated.