A novel indirect ELISA test using deoxycholate extracted antigens coated onto a hydrophobic polystyrene surface for measurement of serum antibodies specific for Mycoplasma hyosynoviae was developed. Sensitivity and specificity of the test were found to be superior to previous ELISAs as tested on porcine serum following experimental Mycoplasma infections as well as by analysis of samples from one Danish herd known to be free of M. hyosynoviae and samples from two Norwegian herds without clinical suspicion of M. hyosynoviae infections since their establishment. The epidemiology of M. hyosynoviae infection was then investigated in Danish pig herds with evidence of clinical M. hyosynoviae arthritis (MhA herds, n = 4) and in herds with M. hyosynoviae-carriers among slaughter pigs, but with limited clinical lameness (MhC herds, n = 4). M. hyosynoviae bacteriaemia and tonsil-carrier state were determined by culture of cross-sectional samples of whole-blood (n = 238) and tonsil scrapings (n = 322), respectively. Levels of serum antibodies (n = 396) were measured by the novel indirect ELISA test. There was no significant difference in the ELISA results between the MhA and the MhC herds. Pigs that were tonsil-carriers had a significantly higher response in the ELISA test (P <0.001) than non-carriers. Slaughter pigs showed higher ELISA values (P <0.001) and they were more prone to be tonsil-carriers (P <0.001). The most critical period for spread of the infection seems to be the nursery period (4-12 weeks). The results indicate that M. hyosynoviae infection progresses similarly in herds irrespective of the presence of clinical arthritis. Thus, clinical arthritis due to M. hyosynoviae is probably triggered by other host or herd factors than low levels of serum antibodies or by differences in virulence factors between M. hyosynoviae strains.
- tonsil-carrier state
- M. hyosynoviae