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Epidemiol Infect. 2004 Jan;132(1):127-35.

Estimation of the Salmonella enterica prevalence in finishing swine.

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  • 1Pre-Harvest Food Safety and Enteric Diseases Research Unit, USDA, Agricultural Research/2 Unit, Ames, IA 50010-0070, USA.


The study objective was to evaluate three methods of Salmonella enterica prevalence estimation in swine herds (faecal culture, culture of abattoir-collected samples, and serum ELISA). From each of six swine herds, we necropsied approximately 100 finishing pigs (> 70 kg); one-half on farm and the other half at the abattoir, after transport and approximately 2.5 h holding. We collected the same samples for S. enterica culture at both locations (1 g faecal, 10 g caecal contents, ileocaecal lymph nodes, superficial inguinal lymph nodes, 25 g of gluteal muscle for serum ELISA). On farm, the 1 g faecal sample only detected 13.3% (2/15) of all positive pigs necropsied on farm. However, with abattoir and on-farm results combined, the faecal sample detected 57.4% (74/129) of positive pigs. Abattoir-collected samples provided prevalence estimates much higher than on-farm collected samples (39.9 vs. 5.3%; P < 0.001). This study shows that faecal samples have a low sensitivity for detecting infected pigs and that abattoir-collected samples overestimate the on-farm S. enterica prevalence. For most herds, serology overestimated the on-farm culture prevalence.

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