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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 May;68(5):2376-81.

Salmonella enterica infections in market swine with and without transport and holding.

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Pre-Harvest Food Safety and Enteric Diseases Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ames, Iowa 50010, USA.


The objective of this study was to compare, by using identical sample types, the Salmonella enterica prevalences and serovar diversities between pigs necropsied on the farm and those necropsied at the abattoir after transport and holding. We necropsied 567 market weight pigs (>70 kg) from six herds. Pigs were alternately assigned to be necropsied on the farm or at the abattoir. One-half of the group was sent in clean, disinfected trailers to slaughter at a commercial abattoir. After transport (mean distance, 169 km) and 2 to 3 h of holding in antemortem pens, these pigs were necropsied. The 50 pigs remaining on the farm were necropsied the following day. The same sample types and amounts were collected for S. enterica culture at both locations. Results show a sevenfold-higher (P < 0.001) S. enterica isolation rate from pigs necropsied at the abattoir (39.9%; 114 of 286) than from those necropsied on the farm (5.3%; 15 of 281). This difference was also observed for each individual herd. All sample types showed a significantly higher prevalence when comparing abattoir to on-farm collection, respectively: lymph nodes, 9.15 versus 3.6%; cecal contents, 13.6 versus 1.8%; 1 g of fecal matter, 25.2 versus 0.7%. Recovery of additional serovars at the abattoir suggests the pigs are receiving S. enterica from extra-farm sources. This study demonstrates that rapid infection during transport, and particularly during holding, is a major reason for increased S. enterica prevalence in swine. This finding identifies the holding pen as an important S. enterica control point in the pork production chain.

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