Control of Yersinia enterocolitica in pigs at herd level

Eystein Skjerve, Bjørn Lium, Bent Nielsen, Truls Nesbakken

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    A higher herd prevalence of antibodies (ELISA) to Yersinia enterocolitica O:3 was found in conventional slaughter production (86.0% seropositive herds) than in conventional farrow-to-finish herds (53.1% seropositive herds). The herd prevalence of antibodies to Y. enterocolitica in multiplying herds (56.1%) was similar to the level in the conventional farrow-to-finish herds. An epidemiological study in conventional pig herds demonstrated that farrow-to-finish production (odds ratio, OR = 0.15) was an important protective factor. Using under-pressure ventilation (OR = 0.33) and manual feeding of slaughter pigs (OR = 0.44) also lowered the herd prevalence. The most expressed risk factor was using an own farm vehicle for transport of slaughter pigs to abattoirs (OR = 12.92). Separation between clean and unclean section in herds (OR = 2.67), daily observations of a cat with kittens on the farm (OR = 2.41) and using straw bedding for slaughter pigs (OR = 2.25) were other factors that increased the risk. In conclusion, the epidemiological data suggest that it is possible to reduce the herd prevalence of Yersinia enterocolitica O:3 by minimising contact between infected herds and non-infected herds. Further, attempts to reduce the prevalence at the top levels of the breeding pyramids may be beneficial for the industry as a whole. The meat industry may use serological tests as a tool to lower the prevalence in the pig population by limiting the contact between seropositive and seronegative herds. However, because of the high prevalence of Y. enterocolitica in pig herds, a strict slaughter hygiene will remain an important means to reduce carcass contamination with Y. enterocolitica O:3 as well as other pathogenic micro-organisms.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)195-203
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


    • multivariate analyses
    • Yersinia enterocolitica
    • epidemiology
    • Norway
    • pig husbandry


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