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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2010 Jan;22(1):86-90.

Development and validation of an immunohistochemical method for rapid diagnosis of swine erysipelas in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples.

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  • 1Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


The objective of the study was to develop an immunohistochemical (IHC) assay for rapid detection of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. Serotypes 1a, 1b, and 2 are most frequently associated with clinical disease in pigs. Antiserum against serotypes 1a, 1b, and 2 was produced in rabbits, pooled, and applied to formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections of pigs (lungs, heart, spleen, and skin). The results obtained with the IHC assay were compared with direct culture on tissue samples from experimentally inoculated pigs either treated (n = 6) with antibiotics or untreated (n = 8) as well as on samples from field cases (n = 170) submitted to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University. The agreement between direct culture and IHC staining was found to be substantial. The results of the present study indicate that the IHC assay is highly sensitive and specific in detecting E. rhusiopathiae antigen in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues. Results indicated that the IHC is particularly useful in cases in which pigs had been treated with antibiotics prior to submission and in which direct cultures of organs were negative. In addition, the IHC was found to be useful for detection of E. rhusiopathiae antigen in skin lesions, which are often culture negative.

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