RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Seroprevalence of Trichinella, Toxoplasma, and Salmonella in antimicrobial-free and conventional swine production systems.

There has been a growing niche-market, outdoor, antimicrobial-free (ABF) swine production system in the last few years prompted by consumers' demand for a more "natural" pork product. The impact of such production systems on reemergence of current and historically significant swine-associated pathogens has not been determined. The objectives of the current study were to determine and compare Salmonella, Toxoplasma, and Trichinella seropositivity in two swine production systems: outdoor ABF and intensive indoor production systems. These three foodborne pathogens represent those with the highest importance for pork consumption. A total of 675 serum samples from three participating states, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Ohio, were investigated. We found significantly higher seroprevalence of Salmonella and Toxoplasma from ABF herds (54% and 7%, respectively) than conventional (39% and 1%, respectively) (p = 0.001). Two pigs, both from ABF herds, were found to be seropositive for Trichinella. The results from this preliminary study suggest that all three pathogens were more commonly present in pigs that were reared in an ABF, outdoor, niche-market type of environment than the conventional, indoor-reared herds though there were some geographical variation in Salmonella. This warrants a robust epidemiologic study to determine the role of various risk factors in the two production systems that may lead to persistence of bacterial (Salmonella) pathogens and reemergence of parasites (such as Trichinella) of historical significance.

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