One coronavirus strain was isolated from brain tissues of ten piglets with evident clinical manifestations of vomiting, diarrhea and dyskinesia in Jilin province in China. Antigenic and genomic characterizations of the virus (isolate PHEV-JLsp09) were based on multiplex PCR and negative staining electron microscopy and sequence analysis of the Hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) gene. These piglets were diagnosed with Porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (PHEV).
Necropsy was performed on the piglets. Major pathological changes included meningeal hyperemia, meningeal hemorrhage and cortical hemorrhage. Minor changes were also observed in other organs. Histopathological changes included satellitosis and neuronophagia in the cerebral cortex.
Mice were infected with the isolated virus. Their histopathological changes were similar to those symptoms observed in the piglets, exhibiting typical changes for non-suppurative encephalitis. Thus, Porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus mainly causes damage to the nervous system but also impacts other organs. This viral strain (isolate PHEV-JLsp09) found in the Siping area of Jilin Province in China is evolutionally closest to the HEV-67N stain (North American strain), indicating that this viral strain evolved from the PHEV from North America.