Pokémon Sword and Shield: How to get Pokérus and why you want this virus

Pokemon Sword and Shield Scorbunny with Pokerus
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There are many hidden secrets and rare things within Pokémon Sword and Shield like Hidden Abilities or the complex ways to make certain Pokémon evolve. Honestly, these rare things are part of what makes these some of the best games on Nintendo Switch. Pokémon Sword and Shield Pokérus is one of these rare occurrences. It sounds awful but is actually a positive thing to catch. Here's everything you want to know about the Pokérus virus, including how to get your Pokémon infected.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Pokérus: What is it?

Pokérus is a super rare virus that your Pokémon can contract in Sword and Shield. In fact, your Pokémon have a 1/21,845 chance of generating the virus. That makes it rarer to catch the virus than it is to catch or hatch a regular shiny Pokémon.

However, unlike human viruses, it's a good thing when your Pokémon catch this one. It causes a Pokémon to gain double the Effort Values (EVs) from battling. For example, a Pokémon with Pokérus might gain two Attack EVs rather than the one they usually get. This is a wonderful thing for hardcore Pokémon trainers because it makes it so you can fully EV train your Pokémon in as little as 10 minutes.

The virus first appeared in Gen 2 with Pokémon Gold and Silver, but it was incredibly rare, even more than it is now. Starting in Gen 4 with the advent of worldwide trading, it became easier to spread the virus through the internet. Pokémon Sword and Shield Pokérus is easier to get and spread than in previous generations. You can either get an infected Pokémon in a trade, hatch an infected Pokémon through breeding, or get lucky enough to have the Pokémon generate the infection on its own. Just be aware that this virus doesn't stick around for long.

How to give your Pokémon Pokérus

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Your Pokémon have a very slight chance of randomly generating the virus after coming in contact with an infected wild Pokémon. However, since Pokérus is very contagious, your Pokémon are more likely to get the virus from a trade. If you put an infected Pokémon in your party it has the potential to spread the virus to any Pokémon adjacent to it after a battle.

What's more, if you trade an infected Pokémon to someone, the virus can get passed on to that trainer's Pokémon as well. So, if you have a few buddies who are all playing Sword or Shield, you'll definitely want to trade an infected Pokémon around if one of you gets one. Finally, Pokémon Sword and Shield Pokérus can pass down to eggs. You can breed the infected Pokémon at the Nursery in the hopes of infecting its offspring.

How does a Pokémon get cured of Pokérus?

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Since Pokérus isn't technically a status condition within the game, you cannot heal the infection with items or by going to a Pokémon Center. The condition automatically clears up after four days and, similar to Chicken Pox, once your Pokémon is no longer infected, it can never catch Pokérus again.

Any infected Pokémon in your party automatically begins the curing process when a new day starts on your Switch, or when the internal clock on your Switch rolls over to a new day. That means that if you turn off your game one day and turn it on the next day, your infected Pokémon will have begun the healing process.

Pokémon with the virus will have the Pokérus icon next to their stats when you look at them in your boxes. You'll know that a Pokémon has been cured of the virus because the Pokérus symbol will just be a face that doesn't have an "X" going through it anymore.

How to tell if your Pokémon have Pokérus

1. While the game is on, press the X button to bring up the menu.

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2. Select the Pokémon icon.

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3. Press R to go into your boxes.

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4. Hover over a Pokémon in your party or in your boxes. If it's infected a pink face with an x through it will show up in the box to the right next to the Pokémon's Type.

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5. If you want to see a little more info, Press A.

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6. Then go to Check Summary.

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7. If you have an infected Pokémon, it will say the word, "Pokérus" next to the marking options.

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Now that you know how to check for the virus, you'll definitely want to run through all of the Pokémon in your boxes to see if you were lucky enough to get an infected Pokémon.

How do I stop a Pokémon from getting cured of Pokérus?

Fortunately, if you put your infected Pokémon in a box rather than having it in your party, it effectively puts the virus in stasis indefinitely. So, you can pull the Pokémon out to infect others and then return it to the box before turning the game off for the day to make sure it stays infected. Something to note is that even after a Pokémon has been cured, it continues to earn twice the EVs as before whenever it engages in battle — it just isn't contagious anymore.

Alternatives to Pokérus

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If you haven't been able to find a Pokémon with Pokérus, there are other ways to quickly EV train your Pokémon. This process has gotten easier over the generations of games. Our complete guide to EV training breaks down how you can train up your Pokémon in a jiffy.

You can also quickly train a Pokémon with vitamins, such as Protein, Carbos, and HP Up. EV vitamins are pretty expensive, but you can make more money than you'll ever need with a Gigantamax Meowth.

The vitamins are also more affordable on the Isle of Armor. After you upgrade the Dojo on the Isle of Armor, you can purchase all of the vitamins in bulk. You can grab 25 of any vitamin for 125,000 Pokédollars.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Pokérus: Gotta infect 'em all!

Now you know all about one of the best Nintendo Switch games, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and the Pokérus virus. If you're lucky, you'll either hatch an infected Pokémon, get one in a trade, or randomly have one of your Pokémon generate the virus. Good luck with your EV training! I hope you're able to get all of the stats you want from your Pokémon.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.