Cough associated with the detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae DNA in clinical and environmental specimens under controlled conditions
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Background: The association of cough with Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (MHP) DNA detection in specimens was evaluated under conditions in which the MHP status of inoculated and contact-infected pen mates was closely monitored for 59 days post-inoculation (DPI). Methods: Seven-week-old pigs (n = 39) were allocated to five rooms (with one pen). Rooms contained 9 pigs each, with 1, 3, 6, or 9 MHP-inoculated pigs, respectively, except Room 5 (three sham-inoculated pigs). Cough data (2 × week) and specimens, tracheal swabs (2 × week), oral fluids (daily), drinker wipes (~ 1 × week), and air samples (3 × week) were collected. At 59 DPI, pigs were euthanized, and lung and trachea were evaluated for gross and microscopic lesions. Predictive cough value to MHP DNA detection in drinker and oral fluid samples were estimated using mixed logistic regression. Results: Following inoculation, MHP DNA was first detected in tracheal swabs from inoculated pigs (DPI 3), then oral fluids (DPI 8), air samples (DPI 10), and drinker wipes (21 DPI). MHP DNA was detected in oral fluids in 17 of 59 (Room 1) to 43 of 59 (Room 3) samples, drinker wipes in 4 of 8 (Rooms 2 and 3) to 5 of 8 (Rooms 1 and 4) samples, and air samples in 5 of 26 (Room 2) or 3 of 26 (Room 4) samples. Logistic regression showed that the frequency of coughing pigs in a pen was associated with the probability of MHP DNA detection in oral fluids (P < 0.01) and nearly associated with drinker wipes (P = 0.08). Pathology data revealed an association between the period when infection was first detected and the severity of gross lung lesions. Conclusions: Dry, non-productive coughs suggest the presence of MHP, but laboratory testing and MHP DNA detection is required for confirmation. Based on the data from this study, oral fluids and drinker wipes may provide a convenient alternative for MHP DNA detection at the pen level when cough is present. This information may help practitioners in specimen selection for MHP surveillance.