Brachyspira infections are significant causes of enterocolitis in pigs. In order to differentiate pathogenic species (Brachyspira (Br.) hyodysenteriae, Brachyspira pilosicoli) from less pathogenic or non-pathogenic species (Brachyspira intermedia, Brachyspira innocens, Brachyspira murdochii) in paraffin-embedded tissue samples a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol allowing identification of Brachyspira at species level in archival material was developed. This approach was complemented by sequencing of the PCR amplification products. All seven cases presented with clinical and morphological Brachyspira-associated enterocolitis. Br. hyodysenteriae was not identified in any of the cases, while Br. pilosicoli was identified in a single case in conjunction with Br. murdochii. One case each was found positive for Br. innocens and Br. intermedia. Interestingly, the majority of cases presented as single or double infections with Br. murdochii. In some of the pigs other pathogens, like porcine circovirus-2 or Lawsonia intracellularis were present. These observations point at the possibility that under certain conditions even Brachyspira species of low pathogenicity can multiplicate extensively and lead to Brachyspira-associated enterocolitis.
- Paraffin-embedded tissue
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