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Isolation of Brachyspira pilosicoli from environmental and other sources on a piggery

Oxberry, S.L. and Hampson, D.J. (2000) Isolation of Brachyspira pilosicoli from environmental and other sources on a piggery. In: 16th International Pig Veterinary Society Congress, 17 - 20 September, Melbourne, Australia p. 42.

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The intestinal spirochaete Brachyspira pilosicoli causes intestinal spirochaetosis (IS), a diarrhoeal disease of pigs and other species. This condition is widespread, though often undiagnosed, and causes losses to the pig industry through reduced growth rates and poor feed conversion (1). Relatively little is known about the epidemiology of the infection, although it is assumed that faecaloral cycling between pigs is responsible for transmission within and between piggeries. Nevertheless, other animals and birds have been shown to be colonised by this organism, and they may play a part in transmission. There is evidence that B. pilosicoli can be transmitted between species. In a study in Papua New Guinea, pulsed field gel electrophoresis was used to show that some isolates of B. pilosicoli from humans were identical to strains isolated from dogs (2). In addition, experimental infection of day-old chicks and newly weaned pigs using human strains of B. pilosicoli has induced disease consistent with porcine IS (3). Survival of this organism in contaminated slurry or water may also play a part in persistence of infection in a piggery. B. pilosicoli is able to withstand adverse environmental conditions better than B. hyodysenteriae (the causative agent of swine dysentery), and B. pilosicoli has been isolated from the faeces of waterbirds and water in a lake that supported a large bird population (4).

The purpose of this study was to investigate environmental and other sources of B. pilosicoli that could be involved in the cycle of infection on a piggery.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
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