Endemic infection was a common sequel to primary outbreaks of transmissible gastroenteritis in large breeding herds of pigs in East Anglia. The main clinical features of the disease were diarrhoea affecting sucking piglets aged about six days or more, diarrhoea among recently weaned pigs and brief episodes of overt clinical recrudescence in part of the herd. Post mortem and bacteriological findings were often more suggestive of colibacillosis than transmissible gastroenteritis. In some herds, endemic infection remained clinically mild or inapparent for long periods. Evidence of endemic transmissible gastroenteritis infection was found in 43 (50.6 per cent) of 85 herds of pigs studied prospectively between 1981 and 1983. There was a significant correlation with herd size; the disease recurred during the 12 months after primary outbreaks in 36 (65.5 per cent) of 55 herds with over 100 sows compared with seven (23.3 per cent) of 30 herds with less than 100 sows (P less than 0.001). In the larger herds it occurred more commonly where finishers were kept (P less than 0.05). Sow morbidity and management factors during the primary outbreak had no statistically significant effect on the incidence of recrudescence. Epidemiological aspects of the findings are discussed with emphasis on the difficulties associated with the diagnosis and control of endemic transmissible gastroenteritis infection.
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