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Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Apr 30;139(1-2):64-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.02.006. Epub 2010 Feb 12.

Wide variety of bioserotypes of enteropathogenic Yersinia in tonsils of English pigs at slaughter.

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Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O.Box 66, FI-00014 Helsinki University, Finland.


The tonsils of 630 pigs from 45 English farms using three different rearing methods (Assured British Pigs, Open Management and Organic) were examined between 2003 and 2005 in order to investigate if the low incidence of human yersiniosis could be attributed to a low prevalence of enteropathogenic Yersinia among English pigs. In addition, different isolation methods were compared, possible differences in prevalence among pigs were studied, as well as the prevalence of different bioserotypes of enteropathogenic Yersinia. A high prevalence and a wide diversity of bioserotypes of enteropathogenic Yersinia compared to other European countries were observed. The prevalence of pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica was 44% and of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis 18%. Overall, 60% of pigs carried enteropathogenic Yersinia. Y. pseudotuberculosis was detected on 78% of farms and Y. enterocolitica on 69%. The most common bioserotypes of Y. enterocolitica were 2/O:9 (33%) and 2/O:5 (26%), and of Y. pseudotuberculosis 2/O:3 (34%), 1/O:1 (26%) and 1/O:4 (24%). Cold enrichment gave the highest isolation rate for both species. Y. enterocolitica was more prevalent (P<0.001) and Y. pseudotuberculosis less prevalent (P<0.05) in winter than in summer in Eastern England. Y. enterocolitica was more common in Eastern England and in assured British pigs, whereas Y. pseudotuberculosis was more common in Western England and in organic pigs. Y. pseudotuberculosis 1/O:1 was predominant (P<0.05) in Western England. Types 1/O:4 (P<0.05) and 2/O:3 (P<0.001) predominated in Eastern England. The high prevalence of Y. enterocolitica bioserotypes 2/O:9 and 2/O:5 found in this study suggests that English pigs are an important reservoir of these bioserotypes whereas in other European countries bioserotype 4/O:3 predominates.

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