Aujeszky’s disease: how to spot and report it

How to spot Aujeszky’s disease, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

Aujeszky’s disease, which is also known as pseudorabies, affects pigs. It can also infect:

  • cattle
  • sheep
  • cats
  • dogs
  • rats

It doesn’t affect humans.

The last outbreak in Great Britain was in 1989.

Aujeszky’s disease is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

How to spot Aujeszky’s disease

In piglets

Aujeszky’s disease affects the nervous system. In piglets signs include:

  • shivering
  • loss of coordination
  • weak hind legs

The disease is normally fatal for piglets.

Mature pigs

In adult pigs signs include:

  • breathing problems
  • fever and weight loss
  • pregnant sows may abort piglets, or give birth to weak and shivering piglets

Other animals

Other infected animals will have concentrated and intense itchiness. They will lick, rub or chew at the itchy spot.

They tend to die within a few days of infection.

How Aujeszky’s disease is spread

Aujeszky’s disease is generally spread by direct, nose to nose, contact between pigs.

The virus can also become airborne and spread over longer distances.

It can also be spread through objects contaminated with the virus.

Preventing and controlling Aujeszky’s disease

You can help prevent disease by practising strict biosecurity on your premises.

If you report suspicion of Aujeszky’s disease APHA vets will investigate.

If the disease is confirmed the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases.

Further information on prevention and control

Controls to prevent disease

What happens when a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed

Legislation relating to Aujeszky’s disease

The main disease control legislation for Aujeszky’s Disease are the Aujeszky’s Disease Order 1983 and the Aujeszky’s Disease (Compensation for Swine) Order 1983.

Published 26 August 2014
Last updated 18 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. Contact details to report a notifiable disease updated.

  2. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  3. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  4. First published.