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Multiple strains of Mycobacterium avium subspecies hominissuis infections associated with aborted fetuses and wasting in pigs
  1. G. J. Wellenberg, BSc, PhD1,
  2. P. E. W. de Haas, PhD2,
  3. J. van Ingen, MD, PhD2,
  4. D. van Soolingen, PhD2 and
  5. I. J. R. Visser, DVM1
  1. 1 Animal Health Service (GD-Deventer), Arnsbergstraat 7, PO Box 9, 7400 AA, Deventer, The Netherlands
  2. 2 National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, 3720 BA, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  1. E-mail for correspondence: g.wellenberg{at}


A herd of pigs being reared for breeding and fattening, in which there had been incidences of abortion and wasting, reduced growth rates and an increase in mortality for the past year, were tested for Mycobacterium infection by pathological examinations, skin test, serology and Mycobacterium culture. In one placenta, and also in the lung tissues of fetuses, Ziehl-Neelsen staining revealed acid-fast bacilli in combination with infiltrations of neutrophils, macrophages and multinucleated giant cells. Acid-fast bacilli were also found in the mesenteric lymph nodes, liver and/or spleen and jejunum of pigs with wasting and in slaughtered animals. The specimen cultures were identified as Mycobacterium avium subspecies hominissuis using IS1245-specific PCR and IS1245 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). IS1245 RFLP revealed that the herd was infected with multiple M avium subspecies hominissuis strains belonging to at least two different clades. It is suggested that this infection may have played a more important role in the economic losses of the pig farm than had been assumed previously.

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