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Infect Immun. 2005 Jul;73(7):4346-53.

Effects of a probiotic strain of Enterococcus faecium on the rate of natural chlamydia infection in swine.

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  • 1Institut für Mikrobiologie und Tierseuchen, Freie Universität Berlin, Philippstrasse 13, 10115 Berlin, Germany.


Chlamydiae are obligately intracellular pathogens which cause infections associated with a broad range of diseases in both livestock and humans. In addition, a large proportion of animals may become persistently infected asymptomatic carriers and serve as reservoirs for other animals which also shed these potential zoonotic pathogens. Reducing the chlamydial load of animals is therefore of major importance, and since large-scale antibiotic treatment is neither desired nor feasible, alternative means of prevention are needed. Here we performed a study comparing the efficacy of a probiotic strain of Enterococcus faecium on the reduction of both the rate of natural infection and the shedding of chlamydiae in swine. The presence of Chlamydiaceae was detected by species-specific PCR of fecal samples of sows taken at three times prior to the birth of piglets. Piglets delivered from chlamydia-positive sows in either the control or the probiotic group were also examined for the frequency of chlamydiae at various ages. Eighty-five percent of the piglets from the control group were found to be chlamydia positive, whereas chlamydiae were found in only 60% of piglets from the probiotic group, results confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistology, which showed higher rates of infection in the control group. In addition to the reduced frequency of chlamydia-positive piglets in the probiotic group, the time of appearance of positive samples was delayed. To our knowledge, these data show for the first time that a probiotic strain of E. faecium can reduce the rate of carryover infections of piglets by obligate intracellular pathogens.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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