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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2010 Oct;17(10):1605-11. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00206-10. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

Characterization of Erysipelothrix species isolates from clinically affected pigs, environmental samples, and vaccine strains from six recent swine erysipelas outbreaks in the United States.

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


The aim of this study was to characterize Erysipelothrix sp. isolates from clinically affected pigs and their environment and compare them to the Erysipelothrix sp. vaccines used at the sites. Samples were collected during swine erysipelas outbreaks in vaccinated pigs in six Midwest United States swine operations from 2007 to 2009. Pig tissue samples were collected from 1 to 3 pigs from each site. Environmental samples (manure, feed, central-line water, oral fluids, and swabs collected from walls, feed lines, air inlets, exhaust fans, and nipple drinkers) and live vaccine samples were collected following the isolation of Erysipelothrix spp. from clinically affected pigs. All Erysipelothrix sp. isolates obtained were further characterized by serotyping. Selected isolates were further characterized by PCR assays for genotype (E. rhusiopathiae, E. tonsillarum, Erysipelothrix sp. strain 1, and Erysipelothrix sp. strain 2) and surface protective antigen (spa) type (A, B1, B2, and C). All 26 isolates obtained from affected pigs were E. rhusiopathiae, specifically, serotypes 1a, 1b, 2, and 21. From environmental samples, 56 isolates were obtained and 52/56 were E. rhusiopathiae (serotypes 1a, 1b, 2, 6, 9, 12, and 21), 3/56 were Erysipelothrix sp. strain 1 (serotypes 13 and untypeable), and one was a novel species designated Erysipelothrix sp. strain 3 (serotype untypeable). Four of six vaccines used at the sites were commercially available products and contained live E. rhusiopathiae serotype 1a. Of the remaining two vaccines, one was an autogenous live vaccine and contained live E. rhusiopathiae serotype 2 and one was a commercially produced inactivated vaccine and was described by the manufacturer to contain serotype 2 antigen. All E. rhusiopathiae isolates were positive for spaA. All Erysipelothrix sp. strain 1 isolates and the novel Erysipelothrix sp. strain 3 isolate were negative for all currently known spa types (A, B1, B2, and C). These results indicate that Erysipelothrix spp. can be isolated from the environment of clinically affected pigs; however, the identified serotypes in pigs differ from those in the environment at the selected sites. At one of the six affected sites, the vaccine strain and the isolates from clinically affected pigs were of homologous serotype; however, vaccinal and clinical isolates were of heterologous serotype at the remaining five sites, suggesting that reevaluation of vaccine efficacy using recent field strains may be warranted.

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