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Epidemiological studies of Brachyspira pilosicoli in two Australian piggeries

Oxberry, S.L. and Hampson, D.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-7729-0427 (2003) Epidemiological studies of Brachyspira pilosicoli in two Australian piggeries. Veterinary Microbiology, 93 (2). pp. 109-120.

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The epidemiology of infection with the intestinal spirochaete Brachyspira pilosicoli within pig herds is incompletely understood. To investigate this further, cross-sectional and cohort studies were undertaken on two piggeries. Faeces were subjected to selective culture, and DNA was extracted from growth on the primary media and amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). On one farm, samples from other animal species and the environment were also examined. Isolates were subjected to multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE) and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The prevalence on farm A (>2000 sows) was 2.4% (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.3, 4.4%). Infection was largely confined to grower/finisher pigs. The six isolates of B. pilosicoli recovered belonged to a single MLEE electrophoretic type (ET) and a single PFGE type. On piggery B, an 80-sow unit located on a research farm, the prevalence amongst growers and finishers was 12.2% (95% CI: 4.7, 19.6%). There was also evidence that weaners were being infected. Ten isolates obtained were genetically heterogeneous, being divided into six ETs and seven PFGE types. One of four isolates in one ET had an identical PFGE type to those on piggery A, and may have been introduced to piggery B in stock from piggery A. On farm B, B. pilosicoli was also detected by PCR in chickens, effluent pond water and wild ducks on the pond. An isolate from the pond belonged to the same ET as one from a pig, whereas the duck isolates were distinct. This study demonstrates the complex epidemiology of B. pilosicoli infections in piggeries.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V.
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