A study was conducted to determine the prevalence and possible significance of campylobacteria in pig abortions in Denmark, Surface-cauterised liver and kidney samples from 55 aborted pig fetuses submitted to the Danish Veterinary Laboratory were taken and a sensitive isolation procedure used to examine pooled tissue samples for Campylobacter, Arcobacter and Helicobacter spp. Routine microbiological, immunological, and histopathological examinations were also performed to identify concurrent infections or histopathological change. The abortions tested negative for established abortifacient pathogens (Brucella, Leptospira, PPV PRRSV), but Arcobacter spp, were recovered from 23/55 abortions. Co-infections with Streptococcus suis, Escherichia coli, and haemolytic streptococci were observed in 7/23 Arcobacter-positive fetuses, and in 4/32 Arcobacter-negative fetuses, Histopathological analyses identified placentitis, pneumonia, hepatitis and encephalitis among the study group. However. no obvious pathologic features were solely associated with Arcobacter-positive cases, nor were Arcobacter-like bacteria observed in tissue samples, Protein profile analyses of the 27 Arcobacter isolates identified I I as A. cryaerophilus and 10 as A. skirrowii. Six strains could not be classified into my existing species and were phenotypically distinct, thus, potentially representing at least one new species. The identification results showed that multiple taxa could be found in a single fetus, and in distinct aborted fetuses from a single sow. The high prevalence of arcobacters in Danish pig abortions may account for at least some of the >90% of cases in which no established abortifacient agent is detected, but further studies are needed to define the role of each species, especially where co-infections with other bacteria are present.
Veterinary Microbiology, 2002, Vol 85, Issue 2, p. 159-167