Brucellosis in Pigs

 

Causal agent

Brucella suis biovars 1,2 and 3.  Biovar 4 occurs in Reindeer and Caribou, whereas Biovar 5 is in mice.  Brucella is a bacteria

Age group

All ages can be infected

Clinical signs

 

Generally no clinical signs exhibited by infected animals

Brucellosis suis in a testes

Sows

Can cause abortion, infertility and severe metritis

Boars

Can cause orchitis (infection of testes) and infertility

Piglets, Weaners

Posterior paralysis and lameness

Infectivity

 

The major route of infectivity is through contact with another pig.  Venereal transmission is possible.  Note many other mammals (wild and domestic) can carry and potentially transmit Brucella suis to pigs.  In Europe B. suis biovar 2 occurs in the Hare

Post-mortem Lesions

 

Generally none.  Many be abscessation sometime with necrosic foci in the liver.  Metritis and orchitis

Diagnosis

 

Serological examination.    This has been a requirement for exporting pigs around Europe, but is now not required.  The UK is free of Brucella suis but it is endemic in the wild boars of Europe.

Note the relatively common organism Yersinia enterocolitica O:9 share a common antigen and this will cause false positive results.

Treatment

Individual

None

This is a reportable disease.  Depopulation is the only viable option

Control

Through good national and herd biosecurity measures

Zoonotic implications

 

Brucella is a serious zoonotic disease and causes ‘undulating fever’ in man.  This however, is primarily an occupational hazard.

Note Yersinia enterocolitica is also a zoonotic disease causing diarrhoea