Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 36, Number 4, July-August 2005
Page(s) 645 - 656
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2005) 645-656
Vet. Res. 36 (2005) 645-656
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2005022

Salmonella in sows: a longitudinal study in farrow-to-finish pig herds

Nathalie Nolleta, b, Kurt Houfa, Jeroen Dewulfb, Aart De Kruifb, Lieven De Zuttera and Dominiek Maesb

a  Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
b  Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

(Received 27 September 2004; accepted 17 January 2005)

Abstract - Besides finishing pigs, sows are also believed to be important in the epidemiology of Salmonella. The study objective was to investigate the prevalence of Salmonella excretion in sows during an entire reproductive cycle. In 3 farrow-to-finish herds, groups of 34, 40 and 32 sows, respectively, were sampled serially. Faecal samples, environmental swabs and feed samples were taken and submitted to a qualitative Salmonella isolation. All isolates were characterised using RAPD and a representative number of isolates was serotyped. The prevalence of Salmonella excretion was < 10% during gestation, around farrowing and during lactation, but a significant increase in the number of Salmonella excreting sows was found in herds A (p < 0.01) and C (p = 0.02) after weaning. S. Infantis was the most prevalent serotype in herd A, S. Derby in herds B and C. Except for the S. Infantis group in herd A, all isolates within each group of the RAPD analysis belonged to the same serotype. Three sows in herd A and 1 sow in herd C shed different serotypes at different time points. The present results indicate that sows can maintain Salmonella infections in farrow-to-finish herds and that culled sows, leaving the herd after weaning, may constitute a substantial risk for contamination of their carcasses with Salmonella.

Key words: Salmonella / farrow-to-finish herds / sows / culled sows

Corresponding author: Nathalie Nollet

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005