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J Appl Microbiol. 1997 Dec;83(6):693-8.

The transmission of campylobacter in piggeries; an epidemiological study.

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Department of the Science of Food of Animal Origin, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


The campylobacter infection of 10 sows and their piglets was monitored. These pigs were kept on two multiplier farms. Rectal faeces samples were taken from the sows shortly before littering and at different intervals after littering. Swab samples of rectal content were taken from six piglets per sow at different intervals after birth. Nine sows were shown to be infected with campylobacter before litter and all sows after litter, with an average colony count of 4.1 in log N g-1 of faeces. Half of the piglets became infected with campylobacter during the first week of life and 85%, after four weeks. Two genetic subtyping methods (ERIC-PCR and RFLP) were used to study the relationships between campylobacter isolates from sows and piglets. A large diversity of campylobacter subtypes was found. Nevertheless, piglets and their mothers often harboured campylobacter isolates with identical genetic subtyping profiles, suggesting that piglets become infected via their mothers. However, observed similarities in genetic subtyping profiles between campylobacters isolated on different farms made this difficult to prove.

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