Natural transmission and detection of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae in a naïve gilt population

Alyssa M Betlach, Robert Valeris-Chacin, Randall S. Singer, Matt Allerson, Maria Pieters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyopneumoniae) continues to be a prevalent and economically important swine respiratory pathogen. For M. hyopneumoniae surveillance, blood samples and/or oral fluids are commonly collected from incoming replacement gilts prior to entering sow farms. However, limitations to this approach exist, particularly due to low sensitivity during acute stages of natural infection, leading to diagnostic uncertainty. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the natural transmission and detection of M. hyopneumoniae based on the introduction of one infected gilt to a naïve population. Twenty-nine naïve gilts were housed with one M. hyopneumoniae naturally exposed gilt for 8 weeks. Deep tracheal catheters, laryngeal swabs, and blood samples were individually collected from each gilt at 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks post-contact (wpc), along with one pen-based oral fluid sample. Blood samples were assayed by ELISA, while all other samples were tested by real-time PCR. The transmission rate of M. hyopneumoniae (ꞵ) was estimated using a Bayesian mixed-effects generalized linear model. At 8 wpc, 27 % (8/29) of the naïve gilts had become infected (ꞵ = 0.73 new infected gilts/gilt-week). Seroconversion was detected in 3% of contact gilts at 8 wpc. Oral fluids were negative for M. hyopneumoniae at all samplings. In this study, the natural transmission of M. hyopneumoniae was slow and detection varied based on sample type and timing. Thus, M. hyopneumoniae surveillance protocols should include lower respiratory tract samples that are tested by real-time PCR to avoid the introduction of potentially infected gilts into naïve sow farms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108819
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Detection
  • Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae
  • Natural infection
  • PCR
  • Replacement gilts
  • Transmission

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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