The transmission of campylobacter in piggeries; an epidemiological study


M.J.B.M. Weijtens Justus van Effenstraat 2, 3511 HK Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The campylobacter infection of 10 sows and their piglets was monitored. These pigs werekept on two multiplier farms. Rectal faeces samples were taken from the sows shortly beforelittering and at different intervals after littering. Swab samples of rectal content were taken fromsix piglets per sow at different intervals after birth. Nine sows were shown to be infected withcampylobacter before litter and all sows after litter, with an average colony count of 4·1in log N g–1 of faeces. Half of the piglets became infected withcampylobacter during the first week of life and 85%, after four weeks. Two genetic subtypingmethods (ERIC-PCR and RFLP) were used to study the relationships between campylobacterisolates from sows and piglets. A large diversity of campylobacter subtypes was found.Nevertheless, piglets and their mothers often harboured campylobacter isolates with identicalgenetic subtyping profiles, suggesting that piglets become infected via their mothers. However,observed similarities in genetic subtyping profiles between campylobacters isolated on differentfarms made this difficult to prove.