Healthy pigs are an important reservoir for the emerging human pathogen Arcobacter which can result in contamination of porcine carcasses and pork and the spread of arcobacters into the environment. Up to now, the excretion of arcobacters by pigs has been studied, but information about the transmission routes in fattening pigs is lacking. The present study aimed to elucidate the Arcobacter population dynamics in pigs during the fattening period on four farrow-to-finish farms. On each farm, 30 clinically healthy, 12-week-old piglets were selected. Fecal samples were collected on 10 sampling occasions until a slaughter age of 30 weeks was reached. Arcobacter spp. were isolated by a selective method and identified by multiplex PCR. The genetic diversity was examined by amplified fragment length polymorphism and enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus PCR. The Arcobacter presence in the fecal samples on the four farms ranged from 11.3 to 50.0%, with excretion levels of up to 104 CFU/g feces. The ratio in which Arcobacter species were isolated varied between the farms and over time. Characterization revealed a high degree of genotypic diversity among the isolates. Arcobacter strains persisted and spread within the finishing unit during the fattening period. The occurrence of both unique and shared genotypes in pigs in adjacent and nonadjacent pens demonstrates that transmission routes other than fecal-oral transmission occur
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