Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Clostridioides difficile on Ohio swine farms (2015): a comparison of swine and human environments and assessment of on-farm risk factors.

Abstract

Swine are known reservoirs for Clostridioides difficile, formerly known as Clostridium difficile, and transmission from swine to human farm workers is strongly suggested by previous studies. This cross-sectional study evaluated the potential role of farm environmental surfaces, including those in worker breakrooms and swine housing areas, in the possible transmission of C. difficile from swine to farm workers. Environmental surfaces and piglet faeces at 13 Ohio swine farms were sampled in 2015. Typical culturing techniques were performed to isolate C. difficile from samples, and amplification of toxin genes (tcdA, tcdB and cdtB) and PCR-ribotyping were used to genetically characterize recovered isolates. In addition, sequencing of toxin regulatory gene, tcdC, was done to identify the length of identified deletions in some isolates. A survey collected farm-level management risk factor information. Clostridioides difficile was recovered from all farms, with 42% (188/445) of samples testing positive for C. difficile. Samples collected from all on-farm locations recovered C. difficile, including farrowing rooms (60%, 107/178), breakrooms (50%, 69/138) and nursery rooms (9%, 12/129). Three ribotypes recovered from both swine and human environments (078, 412 and 005) have been previously implicated in human disease. Samples taken from farrowing rooms and breakrooms were found to have greater odds of C. difficile recovery than those taken from nursery rooms (OR=40.5, OR=35.6, p<.001 respectively). Farms that weaned ≥23,500 pigs per year had lower odds of C. difficile recovery as compared to farms that weaned fewer pigs (OR=0.4, p=.01) and weekly or more frequent cleaning of breakroom counters was associated with higher odds of C. difficile recovery (OR=11.7, p<.001). This study provides important insights into the presence and characterization of C. difficile found in human environments on swine farms and highlights how these areas may be involved in transmission of C. difficile to swine farm workers and throughout the facility.