The genus Circovirus
includes several species and mostly causes asymptomatic infections. Porcine circovirus 2
(PCV-2) and, with increasing evidence, Porcine circovirus 3
(PCV-3), have been associated with different clinical conditions all over the world. In 2019, a new porcine circovirus (PCV-4) was identified from diseased animals in China. Because of the lessons learned from PCV-2 and PCV-3, it appears mandatory to investigate the actual distribution of this new virus and its potential association with clinical outcomes. To this purpose, an exploratory study to detect PCV-4 by molecular methods was performed in Italy and Spain by testing more than 300 samples of different types (serum and tissues), collected from both healthy and diseased pigs and wild boar as well. All samples, independently from the country, type, health status and host, tested PCV-4 negative. Therefore, no evidence of PCV-4 presence was found in Italy and Spain through this exploratory study. Considering the dense pig trade among European countries, its presence in the continent can similarly be considered unlikely. The reasons behind the restricted PCV-4 distribution compared to other porcine circoviruses will require further investigations. Careful surveillance might nevertheless be important since prompt recognition of PCV-4 would allow the implementation of effective countermeasures to prevent its spreading and potential economic losses.
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