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Vet Microbiol. 2005 Jul 1;108(3-4):251-61.

Prevalences and transmission routes of Campylobacter spp. strains within multiple pig farms.

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Institute of Food Hygiene, University of Leipzig, An den Tierkliniken 1, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.


In this work, faecal samples were collected from 15 pig farms to determine the Campylobacter prevalences at different times during the rearing period and to visualize the exchange of strains among the pig population by genotyping specific isolates. All isolated strains were identified as C. coli. Whereas no Campylobacter were detectable in the faeces of piglets at the day of birth, the Campylobacter incidence rose within days to 32.8%. After transfer to the nursery unit the prevalence increased to 56.6%. Approximately two-thirds of the pigs remained C. coli shedders in the fattening unit. In contrast to most farms, one farm expressed a very low Campylobacter incidence during the whole rearing period. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was performed on all C. coli isolates of one farm. Clonal strains were identified from the brood sows and their offsprings or neighbouring piglets. After moving to the nursery unit, new genotypes appeared in that pig group but the original C. coli strains largely remained within that group. C. coli genotypes, identified during the fattening period, replaced the previously isolated genotypes. Transportation to the abattoir had no significant influence on the shedding rate of C. coli. The detection rate before transportation was 79.1% and decreased slightly to 78.2% (n=330). Additionally, eleven of 1474 environmental samples from different sources of the pig farms were positive for C. coli. This study demonstrates the importance of pigs as a reservoir for C. coli. Maternal C. coli strains are the primary source of infection but non-related genotypes from different sources appear during the rearing period and these latter strains constitute largely the final C. coli flora.

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