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The epidemiology of Clostridium perfringens type A on Ontario swine farms, with special reference to cpb2-positive isolates

Chan, Gloria, Farzan, Abdolvahab, Soltes, Glenn, Nicholson, Vivian M, Pei, Yanlong, Friendship, Robert, Prescott, John F
BMC veterinary research 2012 v.8 no.1 pp. 455
Clostridium perfringens A, diarrhea, enteritis, epidemiology, farms, feces, genes, genotyping, multivariate analysis, piglets, polymerase chain reaction, sows, suckling, toxins, weanlings, Ontario
BACKGROUND: There is poor understanding of most aspects of Clostridium perfringens type A as a possible cause of neonatal diarrhea in piglets, and the prevalence and types of C. perfringens present on Ontario swine farms is unknown. To study the prevalence of fecal C. perfringens and selected toxin genes, 48 Ontario swine farms were visited between August 2010 and May 2011, and 354 fecal samples were collected from suckling pigs, lactating sows, weanling pigs, grower-finisher pigs, and gestating sows, as well as from manure pits. The fecal samples were cultured quantitatively, and toxin genes were detected by real-time multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). RESULTS: In mixed multivariable linear analysis, log₁₀ C. perfringens in fecal samples from suckling pigs were higher than that of weanling pigs, grower-finisher pigs, and manure pit samples (P <0.05). In mixed multivariable logistic analysis, the C. perfringens isolates recovered from lactating sows (OR = 0.069, P <0.001), gestating sows (OR = 0.020, P <0.001), grower-finishers (OR = 0.017, P <0.001), and manure pits (OR = 0.11, P <0.001) were less likely to be positive for the consensus beta2 toxin gene cpb2 compared to the isolates from suckling pigs. The prevalence of cpb2 in the isolates recovered from weanlings did not differ significantly from suckling pigs. C. perfringens isolates that were positive for cpb2 were more likely to carry the atypical cpb2 gene (atyp-cpb2) (OR = 19, P <0.001) compared to isolates that were negative for cpb2. Multivariable analysis did not identify farm factors affecting the presence of consensus cpb2 and atyp-cpb2 genes. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides baseline data on the prevalence of C. perfringens and associated toxin genes in healthy pigs at different stages of production on Ontario swine farms. The study suggests that if C. perfringens type A are involved in neonatal enteritis, there may be strains with specific characteristics that cannot be identified by the existing genotyping system.