Author(s): Maes D, Segales J, Meyns T, Sibila M, Pieters M
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, the primary pathogen of enzootic pneumonia, occurs worldwide and causes major economic losses to the pig industry. The organism adheres to and damages the ciliated epithelium of the respiratory tract. Affected pigs show chronic coughing, are more susceptible to other respiratory infections and have a reduced performance. Control of the disease can be accomplished in a number of ways. First, management practices and housing conditions in the herd should be optimized. These include all-in/all-out production, limiting factors that may destabilize herd immunity, maintaining optimal stocking densities, prevention of other respiratory diseases, and optimal housing and climatic conditions. Strategic medication with antimicrobials active against M. hyopneumoniae and, preferably, also against major secondary bacteria may be useful during periods when the pigs are at risk for respiratory disease. Finally, commercial bacterins are widely used to control M. hyopneumoniae infections. The main effects of vaccination include less clinical symptoms, lung lesions and medication use, and improved performance. However, bacterins provide only partial protection and do not prevent colonization of the organism. Different vaccination strategies (timing of vaccination, vaccination of sows, vaccination combined with antimicrobial medication) can be used, depending on the type of herd, the production system and management practices, the infection pattern and the preferences of the pig producer. Research on new vaccines is actively occurring, including aerosol and feed-based vaccines as well as subunit and DNA vaccines. Eradication of the infection at herd level based on age-segregation and medication is possible, but there is a permanent risk for re-infections.