One hundred and thirteen finishing pig units and 74 sow units in Catalonia, Spain, were examined to determine the prevalence of salmonella infections and the factors that could be associated with them. Pooled faecal samples were taken from the finishing units, and samples of faeces were collected from individual sows. The Salmonella isolates were serotyped, phage typed and examined for their antimicrobial susceptibility to 18 common antimicrobial drugs. In addition, blood samples from pigs on 141 farms were analysed by elisa. In both the bacteriological and serological surveys, a questionnaire with 84 questions was completed for each farm. Salmonella species were isolated from 20 per cent of the finishing units and 24 per cent of the sow units; 14 serotypes were detected in the finishing pigs and 11 in the sows. More than 30 per cent of the strains were resistant to tetracycline, sulphonamides, ampicillin or streptomycin, and 69 per cent of the strains were resistant to three or more agents up to 10 compounds. Seventy-seven per cent of the farms had at least one seropositive animal, and 26 per cent of these farms had an individual seroprevalence of 50 per cent or more. The factors associated (P<0·05) with the excretion of Salmonella species in the finishing units were the practice of raising livestock other than pigs (odds ratio [or]=6·18), the herd size (or=5·87), and a past history of clinical salmonellosis (or=4·97). For the sows, the factors associated (P<0·05) with the excretion of Salmonella species were having open-flushed drainage of sewage (or=34·48), a lack of rodent control measures (or=0·05) and the number of sows in the unit (or=9·26). Factors associated with seropositivity in the finishing units were a lack of bird-proof nets (or=0·30) and the use of water from private wells (or=3·64).
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