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Microb Pathog. 1998 Oct;25(4):189-96.

Shigella infection as observed in the experimentally inoculated domestic pig, Sus scrofa domestica.

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F. Edward H├ębert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, 20814-4799, U.S.A.


The domestic pig, Sus scrofa domestica, was investigated as a potential animal model for shigellosis. We examined the effects of pig age, pig breed and antibiotic pretreatment upon Shigella infection. Shigella dysenteriae, and Shigella flexneri (both virulent and avirulent strains) were utilized. Our results indicated that young (4-week-old), conventionally re ared, domestic pigs were routinely, but briefly, colonized (average=3.5+/-2.5 days) following oral or gavage administration ofS. flexneri, as determined by direct rectal cultures. The duration of S. dysenteriae colonization was significantly shorter. Inoculation of younger (2 days) or older (9 weeks) pigs with S. flexneri had no significant effect on infection duration. Similarly, infection of 4-week-old pigs with virulent and avirulent strains of S. flexneri had no effect upon the duration of infection, nor did the use of a swine-passaged S. flexneri isolate. Marked clinical, histopathological (gross and microscopic) and immunoIhistopathological signs of disease were absent in all infections. However, in instances where microscopic histopathological evidence was used to correctly identify infected pigs, tonsillar lesions were the consistently noted criteria. The tonsils are believed to be an important portal of entry for Salmonella choleraesuis, another member of the Enterobacteriaceae and a prevalent pig pathogen. Taken altogether, our results indicate that the domestic pig is unsuitable as a model for shigellosis.

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