A survey of the prevalence of Salmonella species infection was conducted on 59 Irish farrow-to-finish pig herds. Faecal samples were collected from the pens of first-stage weaners (growing pigs approximately three to 10 weeks of age), second-stage weaners (approximately 10 to 17 weeks of age) and fatteners, and from the dry sow and farrowing sow houses. The prevalence of infection was estimated to within 5 per cent with a 95 per cent confidence interval. Thirty of the 59 herds were infected, 12 with Salmonella Typhimurium only, eight with Salmonella Derby only and seven with both S Typhimurium and S Derby; serotypes London, Livingstone and Infantis were each isolated from a single herd. Farms in Ireland are assigned to one of three infection categories on the basis of the antibody levels in samples of meat juice taken at slaughter. When a herd was classified as either positive or negative on the basis of the isolation of Salmonella from at least one faecal sample there was no association between the herd's category as determined by meat juice serology and the probability of the isolation of Salmonella from the faecal samples. However, there were differences in prevalence between pigs at different stages of production in herds of different categories. Farrowing sow houses in moderately infected (category 2) herds had significantly lower infection rates (P≤0.05) than other herd categories and other stages of production. Pigs from first-stage weaner pens in slightly infected (category 1) herds were more likely to be infected with Salmonella than pigs at any other stage of production or category of herd.
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