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Aujeszky's Disease in Pigs

What is Aujeszky’s Disease?

Aujeszky’s Disease, also known as pseudorabies, is a notifiable disease. It is a highly contagious viral infection that causes central nervous system signs and high mortality rates in young pigs and respiratory disease in older pigs. It is associated primarily with pigs, the natural host, but can affect a variety of mammals except humans and the tailless apes.

Ireland is currently free of Aujeszky’s Disease

In 2012, following 3 national testing phases (see Figure 1), Ireland became listed in Annex I to Decision 2008/185/EC, (by Commission Implementing Decision 2012/701/EU of 13 November 2012) as a Member State free of Aujeszky’s disease (AD) without vaccination. At the same time, Northern Ireland was also successful in eradicating the disease and as a result, the Island of Ireland is considered one Aujeszky’s Disease Free region.

Monitoring Programme

Since achieving disease free status in 2012, a monitoring programme has been in operation in Ireland. A ban on vaccination has been in place since 2010 and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine undertakes, on an ongoing basis, serological sampling of a representative sample of sows slaughtered in Ireland to allow the detection of infected holdings.

History of Aujeszky’s Disease in Ireland

Aujeszky’s Disease (AD) was first diagnosed in Ireland in 1960.  As the pig industry intensified the prevalence of AD increased during the 1970’s.  To help control this, inactivated vaccines, were licensed and used during the 1980’s.  Vaccines were further developed and with time, infection levels reduced, susceptibility to reinfection reduced and shedding of the virus by infected animals also reduced.  These improvements raised the possibility of eradicating Aujeszky’s disease from the Irish pig population and the National Aujeszky’s Disease Control and Eradication Programme was launched in 2003.

Figure 1: Timeline of Aujeszky’s Disease Control and Eradication Programme in Ireland

2003-2004: Phase 1

2005-2009: Phase 2

2010-2011: Phase 3

2012: Annex 1 (disease free) status achieved in Ireland

Monitoring programme in place


Further information on Aujeszky’s Disease can be found on the Animal Health Surveillance website:

Updated June 2019