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J Food Prot. 2013 Oct;76(10):1704-11. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-13-076.

Campylobacter spp., Yersinia enterocolitica, and Salmonella enterica and their simultaneous occurrence in German fattening pig herds and their environment.

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Veterinary Public Health Institute, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Switzerland;, Email:


Campylobacter spp., Salmonella enterica, and Yersinia enterocolitica are common causes of foodborne infections in humans with pork as a potential source. Monitoring programs at farm level are, to date, only implemented for S. enterica, while epidemiological knowledge of the other two pathogens is still lacking. This study aimed to assess the pathogen load (in the pigs' environment) in fattening pig herds, their simultaneous occurrence, and the occurrence of Campylobacter spp. and Y. enterocolitica in herds in different Salmonella risk categories. In 50 fattening pig herds in northern Germany, four pooled fecal samples and 10 swab samples from the pigs' direct environment (pen walls, nipple drinkers), indirect environment (hallways, drive boards), and flies and rodent droppings were collected from each herd and submitted for cultural examination. Campylobacter spp. were detected in 38.1% of fecal, 32.7% of direct environment, 5.3% of indirect environment, and 4.6% of flies/pests samples collected, and Y. enterocolitica in 17.1, 8.1, 1.2, and 3.1% and S. enterica in 11.2, 7.7, 4.1, and 1.5%, respectively. For Campylobacter spp., Y. enterocolitica, and S. enterica, 80, 48, and 32% of herds were positive, respectively; 22 herds were positive for both Campylobacter spp. and Y. enterocolitica, 12 for Campylobacter spp. and S. enterica, and 7 for Y. enterocolitica and S. enterica. There was no significant association between the pathogens at herd level. Campylobacter spp. and Y. enterocolitica were found more often in samples from the low Salmonella risk category (odds ratio, 0.51; confidence interval, 0.36 to 0.73, and 0.3, 0.17 to 0.57), and this was also the case for Y. enterocolitica at herd level (odds ratio, 0.08; confidence interval, 0.02 to 0.3). This study provides evidence that the pigs' environment should be accounted for when implementing control measures on farms against Campylobacter spp. and Y. enterocolitica. An extrapolation from the current Salmonella monitoring to the other two pathogens does not seem feasible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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