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A mathematical model for the transmission of Salmonella Typhimurium within a grower-finisher pig herd in Great Britain.

Abstract

In a study of pigs slaughtered at British abattoirs, approximately 23% carried Salmonella in their cecal (large intestine) contents. The most frequent serotype was Salmonella Typhimurium (STM), which was the second most common cause of human salmonellosis in Great Britain. A pig industry-monitoring program was developed to reduce Salmonella infection on British farms. The control of STM infection on the farm requires an understanding of STM transmission dynamics within the herd, and a mathematical model has been developed for an infected grower-finisher farm. The model estimates the probability of a random pig being infected with STM. There are three broad categories of STM infection in pigs: pigs that are infected but unable to transmit the infection (latent); pigs that are infectious, i.e., able to transmit the infection (shedders); and pigs that have stopped shedding but harbor STM in their internal organs (carriers). The model estimates that 21.0% (5th and 95th percentiles, 0.05 to 77.5%) of slaughter-age pigs on an infected farm are likely to be shedding STM. Although this range is wide, it is biologically plausible. Sensitivity analysis of the total number of infected pigs revealed that the most significant input parameters are the probability of effective contact between a specific infectious and susceptible pig and the duration of shedding. The model predicted that 11.5% of pigs would be shedding STM at slaughter age. This value is close to the estimate obtained from a British abattoir survey that 11. 1% of pigs carried STM in their ceca, indicating that the model has reasonable validity.

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