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This research was aimed to determine the occurrence of Brachyspira (B.) hyodysenteriae in Swiss multiplier pig herds.
In a pilot study a direct real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method for B. hyodysenteriae was compared to culture followed by PCR on 106 samples from three herds. Subsequently 40 multiplier herds were epidemiologically characterized and analysed for the presence of B. hyodysenteriae using direct PCR on 1412 rectal swabs. For external validation 20 swabs obtained from two positive conventional herds were analysed.
The comparison of direct PCR with culture followed by PCR resulted in a moderate agreement (kappa index: 0.58). In the two conventional herds, 35% of the samples (7/20) tested positive. Samples from 39 multipliers tested negative. In one multiplier herd, 25% (9/36) of the samples tested PCR positive. Risk factors in the multiplier herd may have been rodents or birds, but not pig purchase.
B. hyodysenteriae have been detected in a Swiss multiplier herd, which underlines the threat of potential spread by replacement pigs. Consequently, a Brachyspira monitoring programme was established for Swiss multiplier herds.