Serotypes 3 and 8 of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, the aetiological agent of porcine pleuropneumonia, have been reported to predominate in the uk. Direct serotyping of isolates of the organism is typically determined by the immunological reactivity of rabbit serum to its surface polysaccharides, but the method has limitations, for example, cross-reactions between serotypes 3, 6 and 8. This study describes the development of a serotype 3-specific pcr, based on the capsule locus, which can be used in a multiplex format with the organism's specific gene apxIV. The pcr test was evaluated on 266 strains of A pleuropneumoniae and 121 strains of other organisms, including all the major respiratory bacterial pathogens of pigs. The test was highly specific and sensitive and should be useful for differentiating strains of serotypes 3, 6 and 8, and in seroprevalence and epidemiological surveys in regions where serotype 3 is prevalent, such as the uk.
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