Author(s): Buddle JR, OHara AJ
In an enzootic pneumonia-free Australian pig herd, an outbreak of a severe respiratory disease in the grow-out herd was initially diagnosed as acute tracheitis and pneumonia precipitated by the dusty environment, with a superimposed mixed infection of Pasteurella multocida and Arcanobacterium pyogenes. Culture for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, Salmonella sp and fungi was negative. The outbreak persisted. Subsequently, gross lesions consistent with enzootic pneumonia occurred, but histological lesions were equivocal and definitive tests for M hyopneumoniae remained negative. Eighteen months after the initial outbreak, gross and histological lesions were consistent with enzootic pneumonia but serological tests were still negative. Almost 2 years later, one of four nasal swabs was positive by the polymerase chain reaction test for M hyopneumoniae, and then lung samples were sporadically positive. The pneumonic disease became endemic in the herd. Gross lesions consistent with enzootic pneumonia occurred in another herd belonging to the same company nearly 2 years after the initial outbreak. Again, results of laboratory tests were inconsistent. Despite sporadic positive polymerase chain reaction tests for M hyopneumoniae, the respiratory disease resolved within 4 months and there has been no clinical evidence of enzootic pneumonia during the subsequent 4 years. These cases raise important questions about the role of the diagnostic tests and their interpretation, and the ecology of M hyopneumoniae and its role in enzootic pneumonia.