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Distribution of Salmonella serovars in breeding, nursery, and grow-to-finish pigs, and risk factors for shedding in ten farrow-to-finish swine farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan

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The study objectives were to investigate Salmonella prevalence, serovar distribution, and risk factors for shedding in 10 purposively selected farrow-to-finish farms in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Pooled fecal samples from the breeding and grow-finish phases and individual fecal samples from breeding, nursery, and grow-finish pigs were cultured for Salmonella; serotyping of isolates was performed. Pig and pen characteristics were recorded for each pig and pen sampled.

Overall, 407/1143 (36%) of samples were Salmonella positive; within-farm prevalence ranged from 1% to 79%. Sows, nursery, and grow-finish pigs accounted for 43%, 29%, and 28% of positive samples, respectively. More Salmonella were detected in pooled pen than individual pig samples (P < 0.001). Among 418 Salmonella isolates, there were 19 distinct serovars; the most common were S. Derby (28.5%), S. Typhimurium, var. Copenhagen (19.1%), S. Putten (11.8%), S. Infantis (6.8%), and S. Mbandaka (6.1%). Sows were more likely to shed Salmonella than nursery or grow-finisher (OR 2.9, P < 0.001) pigs. Pelleted feed (OR 8.2, P < 0.001) and nose-to-nose pig contact through pens (OR 2.2, P = 0.005) were associated with increased Salmonella prevalence. Significant differences in serovar distribution were detected among production phases. The use of pooled pen samples is recommended as a more efficient means for accurate evaluation of Salmonella status in different phases of pig production. The breeding herd might be an important source of Salmonella persistence within farrow-to-finish farms and should be targeted in control efforts. The latter might also apply to the use of pelleted feed, which remains the most consistently reported significant risk factor for Salmonella shedding in pigs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2010

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