Seroepidemiologic study of natural transmission of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in a swine herd

Cyllene R. Morris, Ian Gardner, Sharon K. Hietala, Tim Carpenter, Randall J. Anderson, Kent M. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


A cohort of 57 pigs in a farrow-to-finish swine herd with mild clinical mycoplasmal disease was followed to determine patterns of seroconversion to Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (MH), detected with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Survival analysis was used to evaluate the relationship between time to seroconversion and possible risk factors for MH infection (or enzootic pneumonia). Pigs were housed in outdoor pens at approximately 9 weeks of age, when passively acquired MH antibodies had decayed. From 9 to 11 weeks of age and during a 5 week period, pigs were exposed by direct (nose-to-nose) or indirect contact to older seropositive gilts. Blood samples were collected from each pig at 3 week intervals until market age, when they were either slaughtered or selected for breeding. Antibody concentration was measured as the ratio of optical densities of the serum sample to the positive control ( S P). Based on the sample distribution of S P ratios from pigs in an MH-free herd, pigs were considered positive when S P ratios were greater than 0.34. At the beginning of the study, all pigs were seronegative to MH. Seroconversion was first detected after 21 days, and was most frequent about 11 weeks after exposure to older seropositive gilts. By the end of the study, 11 pigs (19%) had seroconverted, with S P ratios ranging from 0.40 to 1.11. The presence of gross lung lesions showed a moderate to good agreement with ELISA results (K = 0.62). Histologic lesions were evident in virtually all slaughtered pigs, ranging from mild, non MH-specific lesions to severe lesions typical of MH infection. No secondary respiratory pathogens were isolated. Clinical signs were mild and there was no significant difference (P > 0.4) in weight gain between seropositive and seronegative pigs, or between pigs with and without lung lesions. A Cox regression model was fitted to the seroconversion data, and opportunity of contact (direct or indirect) was the only significant variable. After adjustment for breed and antibody S P ratio prior to exposure, pigs in direct contact with seropositive gilts were seven times more likely to seroconvert than those in only indirect contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-337
Number of pages15
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Animals


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