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Distribution of Salmonella Strains in Farrow-to-Finish Pig Herds: A Longitudinal Study

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Abstract:

The aims of this study were to investigate patterns of Salmonella shedding in finishing pigs and to study the role of the sow in the transmission of Salmonella to her offspring. In each of the three herds (A, B, and C), one cohort of sows (n = 34, n = 40, n = 32, respectively) together with three piglets of their offspring (n = 102, n = 120, n = 96, respectively) were selected. Individual fecal and blood samples were taken from the sows at different times during one production cycle and from the piglets from weaning until slaughter. At slaughter, contents from the jejunum, colon, and mesenteric lymph nodes were collected. Fecal samples, as well as the jejunum, colon, and mesenteric lymph node samples collected at slaughter, were submitted to a qualitative Salmonella analysis. Isolates were characterized by random amplified polymorphic DNA, and if necessary, further characterization was done by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. In herds A and B, Salmonella shedding began in the nursery. A significant increase in the number of Salmonella shedders was seen after transferring pigs to the growing unit in herd B (P = 0.003) and to the finishing unit in herds A (P < 0.001) and B (P = 0.013). None of the fattening pigs in herd C were shedding Salmonella. This study reveals that transferring pigs is an important trigger to induce Salmonella shedding, leading to horizontal spread. Direct transmission of Salmonella from the sows to their piglets could not be demonstrated, but the similarities between the isolates found in the sows and those found during the nursery and finishing periods and at slaughter suggested indirect transmission.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium; Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics, and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium 2: Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium 3: Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics, and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium 4: Department of Physiology, Biochemistry, and Biometrics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

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