Conventional crossbred pigs from different sources and of different weights were examined for susceptibility to porcine proliferative enteritis. The ileal mucosa of pigs with the disease was emulsified and suspended in Mueller-Hinton broth. Pigs weighing 15, 120 and 200 lb (6.8, 54.5 and 91 kg) (four pigs per group) were stressed and inoculated orally with 80 ml of emulsified proliferative ilea. Severe lesions of porcine proliferative enteritis were detected in three of the four pigs weighing 6.8 kg. Mild lesions were detected in two of the four pigs in each of the other two groups. Gross lesions consisted of reticulation of the serosa, and hyperaemia and thickening of the mucosa with either fibrin or blood clots adherent to the mucosal surface. Inflammation, numerous mitotic figures and epithelial cell proliferation were observed microscopically in the crypts. Silver stained sections revealed numerous comma-shaped organisms in the crypts of infected epithelial cells. Using this method, serial reproduction of the disease was accomplished through the passage of fresh and previously frozen inocula. The virulence of the freshly prepared inoculum increased with passage through the host, whereas the inoculum prepared from tissue that had previously been frozen showed a decrease in infectivity and virulence. These data provide strong evidence for the infectious nature of this disease.
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