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Staphylococcus hyicus infection

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Staphylococcus hyicus infection

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 03 January 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Staphylococcus hyicus infection
  • Overview

  • Staphylococcus hyicus is a Gram-positive coccus, which is the causative agent of the skin disease exudative epidermitis (EE) in pigs. S. hyicus has been associated with...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Experimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Back neck and ears.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionExperimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Back neck and ears.
CopyrightLars Ole Andresen/Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Copenhagen.
Experimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Back neck and ears.
SymptomsExperimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Back neck and ears.Lars Ole Andresen/Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Copenhagen.
Experimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Head and snout.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionExperimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Head and snout.
CopyrightLars Ole Andresen/Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Copenhagen.
Experimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Head and snout.
SymptomsExperimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Head and snout.Lars Ole Andresen/Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Copenhagen.
Experimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Hind leg.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionExperimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Hind leg.
CopyrightLars Ole Andresen/Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Copenhagen.
Experimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Hind leg.
SymptomsExperimentally induced exudative epidermitis: Hind leg.Lars Ole Andresen/Danish Veterinary Laboratory, Copenhagen.
Early stage lesions around the face.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionEarly stage lesions around the face.
CopyrightRanald D.A. Cameron
Early stage lesions around the face.
SymptomsEarly stage lesions around the face.Ranald D.A. Cameron
Chronic lesions.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionChronic lesions.
CopyrightRanald D.A. Cameron
Chronic lesions.
SymptomsChronic lesions.Ranald D.A. Cameron

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Staphylococcus hyicus infection

International Common Names

  • English: ear tip necrosis in pigs; ear, tail, teats, skin necrosis in pigs; eczema; exudative epidermitis; exudative epidermitis in pigs; exudative epidermitis, greasy pig disease; flank biting syndrome in pigs; greasy pig disease; mammary abscess in pigs; mastitis; necrotic ear syndrome in pigs; porcine epidermitis and dermititis; porcine exudative epidermitis; porcine necrotic ear syndrome; pustular dermititis in young pigs; septicemia of lambs or kids, tick pyemia; staphylococcal acne; staphylococcal acne, pustular dermatitis in young pigs; staphylococcal dermatitis in cattle, impetigo, folliculitis; Staphylococcus hyicus arthritis in pigs; Staphylococcus hyicus conjunctivitis in ostriches; Staphylococcus hyicus endometritis in pigs; Staphylococcus hyicus induced abortion in pigs; Staphylococcus hyicus induced scabby-hip in chickens; Staphylococcus hyicus induced turkey stifle joint osteomyelitis; Staphylococcus hyicus mastitis in buffaloes; Staphylococcus hyicus mastitis in cattle; Staphylococcus hyicus mastitis in sheep; Staphylococcus hyicus necrotic ear lesions in pigs; Staphylococcus hyicus osteomyelitis in turkeys; Staphylococcus hyicus pneumonia in pigs; Staphylococcus hyicus skin infections in poultry; Staphylococcus hyicus skin lesions in cattle; Staphylococcus hyicus skin lesions in goats
  • Spanish: epidermitis exudativa en suinos

Local Common Names

  • Belgium: exudatieve epidermitis
  • Brazil: dermatite exsudativa; epidermite exudativa suina
  • Denmark: sodeksem; sorteksem
  • Germany: Nässende Ekzem
  • Italy: epidermite essudativa
  • Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro): eksudativni epidermitis

English acronym

  • EE
  • XE

Overview

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Staphylococcus hyicus is a Gram-positive coccus, which is the causative agent of the skin disease exudative epidermitis (EE) in pigs. S. hyicus has been associated with diseases other than EE, such as: arthritis (Noda and Fukui, 1986; Teuscher and Higgins,1990; Hill et al., 1996), flank biting lesions (Mirt, 1999), necrotic ear lesions (Richardson et al., 1984; White, 1992; Mirt, 1999), pneumonia (Teuscher and Higgins, 1990) and polyarthritis (Phillips et al., 1980) in pigs, and abortion (Onet and Pommer, 1991) and endometritis in sows in particular (Winter et al., 1995). However, S. hyicus has also been isolated from other animals as the likely cause of different diseases, as an opportunistic secondary infection, or as non-significant findings. S. hyicus has been reported in association with skin lesions in cattle (Devriese and Derycke, 1979; Hazarika et al., 1991), chickens (Scalan and Hargis, 1989), dogs (Tamura et al., 1993; Carlotti et al., 1995) donkeys (Devriese and Thelissen, 1986), goats (Schamber and Alstad, 1989; Mahanta et al., 1997) and horses (Devriese et al., 1983; Dom et al., 1995; Shimozawa et al., 1997), mastitis in cows (Myllys, 1995; Nickerson et al., 1995), sheep (Queiroga et al., 1997) and buffalo (Muhammad et al., 1997), osteomyelitis (Tate et al., 1993), pox (Devriese et al., 1992) and conjunctivitis (Cheville et al., 1988) in turkeys, pox in chickens (Devriese et al., 1992), conjunctivitis in ostrich (Chirino and Wheler, 1989), and ocular lesions in dogs and cats (Fukuyama et al., 1994). This data sheet focuses on S. hyicus as the causative agent of EE in pigs as this disease is most frequently reported and may be regarded as the most important of the diseases in different animals that S. hyicus has been associated with.

S. hyicus was first described by Sompolinsky (1953) as Micrococcous hyicus and was later defined as belonging to the genus Staphylococcus (Baird-Parker, 1965). Devriese et al. (1978) divided the species into S. hyicus subsp. hyicus and S. hyicus subsp. chromogenes. S. hyicus subsp. chromogenes was subsequently elevated to species S. chromogenes (Hájek et al., 1986). Consequently, the taxonomically correct designation for the causative agent of EE in pigs is S. hyicus.

EE has, according to Jones (1956), been recognized as far back as 1842. However, the first more comprehensive descriptions of the disease were by Sompolinsky (1950) and Jones (1956), who both reviewed previous reports on clinical observations of diseases corresponding to EE. In the following years several studies on experimental induction of the disease were performed and the etiological significance of S. hyicus in the pathogenesis of EE was further established (Sompolinsky, 1953; L'Ecuyer, 1966; 1967; L'Ecuyer and Jericho, 1966; Bollwahn et al., 1970). Amtsberg and Hazem (1978) showed that S. hyicus strains from pigs were either virulent or avirulent with regard to induction of EE when experimentally inoculated in piglets. This was later confirmed in other studies (Wegener et al., 1993; Tanabe et al., 1996). An exfoliative toxin, which is necessary for the induction of EE is produced by virulent strains of S. hyicus. Amtsberg (1979) was the first to suggest the existence of an exfoliative toxin produced by S. hyicus, as he showed that concentrated culture supernatant could induce alterations in the skin of piglets similar to the skin lesions of EE. Sato et al. (1989; 1991a,b) partially purified the exfoliative toxin from S. hyicus as a protein of about 27 kDa, which was shown to be able to induce exfoliation of the skin of piglets and could be inactivated by heat. Subsequent studies have established that the exfoliative toxin from S. hyicus is the factor necessary for induction of EE in piglets (Tanabe et al., 1996; Andresen et al., 1997; Andresen, 1998), that variants of the toxin exists (Andresen, 1998; Sato et al., 1999) and that they are metalloproteins (Andresen, 1999a,b).

Hosts/Species Affected

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S. hyicus has been isolated from a number of different animal species. In pigs, S. hyicus can be isolated from animals of all ages (Amtsberg, 1979b). However, EE is usually seen in piglets at the age of 1-6 weeks (Wegener and Skov-Jensen, 1999), but mild forms of the disease may occur in older pigs (Taylor, 1995). Introduction of carrier animals into non-immune herds may cause outbreak of disease. Outbreaks of EE in suckling pigs have been associated with litters from gilts and a high percentage of litters from gilts may predispose weaned pigs for an outbreak (Skov-Jensen, 1990; Taylor, 1995). Other predisposing factors, which may be considered, are climatic conditions, bites and scratches, parasitic infections and nutritional factors (Sompolinsky, 1950; Jones, 1956; L'Ecuyer and Jericho, 1966; Skov-Jensen, 1990; Taylor, 1995).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Pathology

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Jones (1956), L’Ecuyer (1966), L’Ecuyer and Jericho (1966), Obel (1968), and Wegener and Skov-Jensen (1999) have presented thorough descriptions of the pathology of EE. This description merely summarizes significant gross pathology and histopathology of the disease. Pigs that have died from EE are often dehydrated and emaciated. Postmortem examination shows enlarged and oedematous lymph nodes. In the urinary system, urate crystals in the kidney and mucoid or crystalline material in the renal pelvis, ureters or urinary bladder may be observed.

Histopathological examinations of naturally infected animals show that in the early stages of the disease, the organism grows between the corneocysts of the dermis where microcolonies develop. Inflammation occurs and there is a marked hyperplasia of the stratum corneum, invasion by neutrophils, with an increase in thickness of the epidermis, followed by its erosion. The stratum germinativum becomes disorganized and penetrates deeply into the dermis.

Diagnosis

Top of page Clinical Diagnosis

Infected piglets may develop the disease from 4 days after birth up to 5-6 weeks of age. More rarely, the disease is encountered in growing or adult pigs. Early clinical signs are erythema of infected areas of the skin. Often the ears, the axial and groin regions, and the chest and abdominal skin are the first areas to be infected. A thick greasy exudate develops and the signs of infection spread to the head, flanks and extremities usually within a few days. As the disease progresses the exudate becomes dark because dirt and dust from the pen adsorbs to the greasy surface. The skin of affected piglets may be hot to touch, the hair coat matted, and exudate may extend to the eyelashes. In experimental infections a typical early sign of EE is the accumulation of dark or black material around the eyes of the piglets. Ulcers may occur in the mouth and separation of horn may occur at the bulbs of the heels. Affected pigs can appear apathetic, anorexic and dehydrated. Untreated pigs may die within 10 days. Fever is usually not part of the clinical picture. The number of affected piglets within and between litters may vary and the degree of infection also varies between littermates.

Differential Diagnosis

According to Wegener and Skov-Jensen (1999), differential diagnosis to EE includes swine pox (localised lesions, rarely fatal), mange (pruritis, demonstration of mites), ringworm (expanding superficial lesions, isolation of fungus), pityriasis rosea (expanding circles, nonfatal, lesions not greasy), zinc deficiency (weaners, symmetrical, dry lesions), dermatosis vegetans (inherited in Landrace, fatal pneumonitis), and local wounds such as facial fight wounds and abraded knees in piglets, and crate injuries in adults.

Laboratory Diagnosis

Laboratory diagnosis for confirmation of clinical and pathological diagnosis of EE may include isolation and identification of S. hyicus and detection of isolates producing exfoliative toxin. Isolation of S. hyicus from swabs of affected areas of the skin of piglets or carcasses can be done by plating on a selective and indicative medium (Devriese, 1977a). The identity of the bacteria as S. hyicus can be done by conventional bacteriology (Devriese, 1977a) or by the use of test systems such as the Staph-Zym test (Lämmler, 1989) or API-STAPH tests (Maddux and Koehne, 1982; Park, 1994). The commercially available identification systems have the advantages that they are relatively easy to handle and interpret, they do not require advanced laboratory facilities or medium preparation and they may show the identity of the non-S. hyicus isolates.

Identification of S. hyicus isolates that produce exfoliative toxin may be desirable for efficient treatment of the disease. Methods for detection of S. hyicus exfoliative toxin have been published by researchers in Japan (Tanabe et al., 1996; Sato et al., 1999) and Denmark (Andresen et al., 1997; Andresen, 1998; 1999b). Detection and typing of the exfoliative toxin from S. hyicus can be done by the use of specific antibodies to the variants of the toxin in immunoblot analysis (Andresen, 1998; Sato et al., 1999) or in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (Andresen, 1998; 1999b).

The immunological aspects of EE in pigs are not well described. However, vaccination with autogenous vaccines provides protection against the disease.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Congestion oral mucous membranes, erythema, redness oral mucosa Sign
Digestive Signs / Excessive salivation, frothing at the mouth, ptyalism Sign
Digestive Signs / Oral mucosal ulcers, vesicles, plaques, pustules, erosions, tears Sign
Digestive Signs / Tongue ulcers, vesicles, erosions, sores, blisters, cuts, tears Sign
General Signs / Cyanosis, blue skin or membranes Sign
General Signs / Cyanosis, blue skin or membranes Sign
General Signs / Dehydration Pigs:Piglet Diagnosis
General Signs / Exercise intolerance, tires easily Pigs:Piglet Sign
General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia Sign
General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia Sign
General Signs / Forelimb lameness, stiffness, limping fore leg Sign
General Signs / Forelimb lameness, stiffness, limping fore leg Sign
General Signs / Forelimb swelling, mass in fore leg joint and / or non-joint area Sign
General Signs / Generalized lameness or stiffness, limping Sign
General Signs / Generalized lameness or stiffness, limping Sign
General Signs / Generalized weakness, paresis, paralysis Sign
General Signs / Haemorrhage of any body part or clotting failure, bleeding Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb lameness, stiffness, limping hind leg Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb lameness, stiffness, limping hind leg Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb swelling, mass in hind leg joint and / or non-joint area Sign
General Signs / Hypothermia, low temperature Sign
General Signs / Lack of growth or weight gain, retarded, stunted growth Pigs:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Mammary gland swelling, mass, hypertrophy udder, gynecomastia Sign
General Signs / Petechiae or ecchymoses, bruises, ecchymosis Sign
General Signs / Polydipsia, excessive fluid consumption, excessive thirst Pigs:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Reluctant to move, refusal to move Sign
General Signs / Sudden death, found dead Sign
General Signs / Swelling skin or subcutaneous, mass, lump, nodule Sign
General Signs / Swelling skin or subcutaneous, mass, lump, nodule Sign
General Signs / Swelling skin or subcutaneous, mass, lump, nodule Sign
General Signs / Swelling skin or subcutaneous, mass, lump, nodule Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Sign
General Signs / Weight loss Pigs:Piglet Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Chemosis, conjunctival, scleral edema, swelling Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Conjunctival, scleral, injection, abnormal vasculature Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Conjunctival, scleral, redness Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Hypopyon, lipid, or fibrin, flare, of anterior chamber Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Lacrimation, tearing, serous ocular discharge, watery eyes Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Purulent discharge from eye Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain mammary gland, udder Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain mammary gland, udder Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Skin pain Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Skin pain Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Skin pain Sign
Reproductive Signs / Mastitis, abnormal milk Sign
Reproductive Signs / Warm mammary gland, hot, heat, udder Sign
Respiratory Signs / Coughing, coughs Sign
Respiratory Signs / Coughing, coughs Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dyspnea, difficult, open mouth breathing, grunt, gasping Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dyspnea, difficult, open mouth breathing, grunt, gasping Sign
Respiratory Signs / Epistaxis, nosebleed, nasal haemorrhage, bleeding Sign
Respiratory Signs / Increased respiratory rate, polypnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea Sign
Respiratory Signs / Increased respiratory rate, polypnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea Sign
Respiratory Signs / Mucoid nasal discharge, serous, watery Sign
Respiratory Signs / Purulent nasal discharge Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Cold skin, cool ears, extremities Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Cracked skin, fissure Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Excessively straight hair Pigs:All Stages Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Foul odor skin, smell Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Hyperkeratosis, thick skin Pigs:All Stages Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Hypotonic, wrinkled skin Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Moist skin, hair or feathers Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Oily skin, hair or feathers, greasy Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Pruritus, itching skin Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Purulent discharge skin Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Rough hair coat, dull, standing on end Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin crusts, scabs Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin edema Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin erythema, inflammation, redness Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin fistula, sinus Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin laceration, cut, tear, bite Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin necrosis, sloughing, gangrene Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin papules Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin papules Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin pustules Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin scales, flakes, peeling Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin ulcer, erosion, excoriation Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin vesicles, bullae, blisters Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Warm skin, hot, heat Pigs:All Stages Diagnosis

Disease Course

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Spontaneous EE is a generalized infection of the skin, which can be seen as peracute, acute and subacute forms (Jones, 1956). S. hyicus possess the ability to produce a number of extracellular and cell wall components, which may be advantageous to the bacterium in the establishment of infection: bacteriocins (Allaker et al., 1989), capsule (Yoshida et al., 1988; Wegener, 1990), enzymes (protease, catalase, hyalunidase, lipase, nuclease; Devriese,1977a), exfoliative toxin (Sato et al., 1989; 1991a, b; Tanabe 1993; Andresen,1998), haemolysin (Allaker et al., 1991) and protein A (Takeuchi et al., 1988; 1990). These factors may contribute to overcoming the initial immune response to infection of the piglet. However, the exfoliative toxin of S. hyicus is considered the factor necessary for induction of EE in pigs.

Application of pure cultures of virulent S. hyicus to the skin of non-immune pigs is sufficient to reproduce the disease (L’Ecuyer and Jericho, 1966), but it can also be induced by subcutaneous injection in specific-pathogen-free (SPF) piglets at the age of 2-4 weeks (Wegener et al., 1993). In naturally acquired EE, skin wounds from fighting, unclipped teeth, rough bedding, or rubbing against pen walls leading to exposure of dermis may allow the organism to establish infection. S. hyicus may adhere to fibronectin in the dermis by fibronectin binding proteins on the bacterial surface (Lämmler et al., 1985). Capsule, which is produced by virulent strains of S. hyicus (Wegener, 1990) and protein A may protect the bacterium against phagocytosis.

The exfoliative toxin is secreted by the bacterium to the culture supernatant when grown in liquid medium. Crude or purified preparations of exfoliative toxin can, when injected subcutaneously into the skin of piglets, produce local skin alterations similar to the lesions seen in clinical EE (Amtsberg, 1979; Sato et al., 1991a, b; Tanabe 1993; Wegener et al., 1993; Andresen et al., 1993; 1997). The effect of the toxin is separation of the cells in the epidermis (Amtsberg, 1979, Sato et al. 1991a), particularly separation of cells in the upper stratum spinosum. This may allow rapid intra-epidermal spread of the bacteria. Excess sebaceous secretion and serous exudate accompany exfoliation of the skin. The secreted material dries out forming a thick dark crust.

In untreated infections, skin lesions spread and generalize, covering the entire body of the pig and in time cracks and fissures in the skin can develop. This course of disease can be reproduced experimentally by inoculation of young piglets with live virulent strains of S. hyicus (Sompolinsky, 1953; Wegener et al., 1993). S. hyicus is present in large numbers in the skin of diseased pigs. The mortality associated with EE results from dehydration and possibly also septicaemia (Wegener and Skov-Jensen, 1999).

Epidemiology

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S. hyicus is a common bacterium from the skin, ear, nasal cavities, tonsils and vagina of healthy pigs (Takeuchi et al., 1985; Hájek et al., 1986; Elliott, 1986; Shimizu et al., 1987; Wegener and Skov-Jensen, 1992). S. hyicus was isolated from the skin of pigs in 54% of 684 samples from healthy pigs (Devriese, 1977a) and between 10% and 60% of samples from suckling and weaned piglets in healthy herds (Wegener, 1992). Strains of S. hyicus with phage types identical to strains isolated from the vagina of sows have been recovered from the skin of the offspring, indicating that transmission and colonization takes place during delivery of the piglets (Wegener and Skov-Jensen, 1992). Studies have shown that only strains capable of producing exfoliative toxin can induce EE in pigs (Tanabe et al., 1996; Andresen, 1998). However, both virulent and avirulent clones co-habitat on pigs with EE (Wegener et al., 1993; Andresen, 1998; 1999b) making the identification of the disease-causing clone difficult without suitable diagnostic tools. A phage-typing system has been developed with phages derived from S. hyicus (Wegener, 1993a) and has been used in investigations on the distribution of different types of S. hyicus in Danish pig herds (Wegener,1992; 1993b; Wegener and Skov-Jensen, 1992). Others have also isolated phages from S. hyicus for typing purposes (Hájek and Horák, 1978; Kawano et al., 1983). S. hyicus isolates are not susceptible to phages for typing of S. aureus. Other typing methods such as plasmid profiling and antibiogram typing (Wegener, 1993b) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (Shimizu et al., 1997) have also been used for epidemiological and diagnostic studies. Using phage typing, plasmid profiling and antibiogram typing Wegener (1993b) found that several different clones of S. hyicus could be isolated simultaneously from the same pig and that up to six isolates of S. hyicus with different antibiogram patterns could be isolated from the same pig. Thus, the choice of antibiotic treatment may also be problematic unless the susceptibility to antibiotics of a representative number of clones is tested.

Andresen (1998) investigated the presence of exfoliative toxin-producing S. hyicus in samples from pig herds with EE. The study showed that although the production of toxin was predominantly associated with certain phage groups, toxin-producing isolates could be assigned to each of the phage groups defined by the phage-typing system. Thus, phage typing could not be used for identification of toxin-producing isolates.

Impact: Economic

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Although EE has been reported from many countries with intensive pig production, the economic significance of EE in pig production is not well documented. The disease is not commonly regarded as one of the economically more important diseases in pigs. However, the disease may be a cause of substantial losses where it occurs, as the mortality can be up to 70% in infected herds (Wegener and Skov-Jensen, 1999). Pepper and Taylor (1977) investigated the economic impact of an outbreak of EE in a pig herd in the UK. A comparison of normal production conditions and a two-month period of an outbreak showed a 35% reduction of the margin of output over feed and veterinary cost. In Denmark, EE has had increasing importance during the past decades (Andresen, 1999b) and this situation may also reflect that in other pig-producing countries.

Zoonoses and Food Safety

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S. hyicus is normally not considered a zoonotic agent and only a few cases of wound infections with S. hyicus caused by a donkey bite (Österlund and Nordlund, 1997) and a wild boar have been reported. S. hyicus does not seem to be a risk factor with regard to food safety.

Disease Treatment

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EE in pigs can be treated with antibiotics. However, resistance to several different antibiotics has been reported (Teranishi et al., 1987; Schwarz et al., 1989; 1990; Wegener and Schwarz, 1993; Wegener et al., 1994; Aarestrup et al., 1998a, b). Effective treatment of EE in pigs has been reported using enrofloxacin (Toriumi et al., 1997) and penicillin and streptomycin in combination (Pepper and Taylor, 1977). Novobiocin and the combinations sulfadiazine/trimetroprim and lincomycin/spectinomycin have been suggested for treatment of EE as they were efficient against S. hyicus in vitro (Wegener et al., 1994). It may be beneficial to determine the resistance to antibiotics by all the different clones isolated from a diseased animal and subsequently only use the drugs that are active against all the clones isolated (Wegener, 1993b). The use of skin antiseptics and local application of antibiotics can also assist recovery and prevent the spread of disease (Wegener and Skov-Jensen, 1999).

Prevention and Control

Top of page Immunization and Vaccination

Autogenous vaccines are used for prevention and control of outbreaks of EE in pigs (Sieverding, 1993; Wegener and Skov-Jensen, 1999). Vaccination of sows and gilts with autogenous bacterins protect the offspring against disease through passively acquired antibodies in the colostrum. Autogenous vaccines are prepared from isolates from the same farm in which the vaccine is to be used. The fact that several clones of S. hyicus may be isolated from the same affected animal and that only one of theses clones is likely to be disease-causing (Wegener et al., 1993) have occasioned the preparation of mixed autogenous vaccines comprising different phage types represented among up to 10 isolates of S. hyicus from a pig with EE (Andresen,1998). This should ensure that the disease-causing clone is included in the vaccine. However, as the exfoliative toxin may be considered the key factor in the pathogenesis of EE in pigs, a vaccine should contain both bacterial cells and the exfoliative toxin, which is secreted by the bacteria during growth in vitro. Wegener (1993b) showed that in some cases reoccurrence of outbreaks with EE, and failure of protection by vaccination with an autogenous vaccine prepared after the first outbreak, could be explained by introduction of new types of S. hyicus in the herd.

Husbandry Methods and Good Practice

Preliminary results have indicated that S. hyicus clones producing exfoliative toxin are rarely found in healthy pig herds, and it has been suggested that new clones are introduced by the purchase of animals to herds (Skov-Jensen, 1990). Taylor (1992) recommended that sows should be washed and disinfected before entering farrowing accommodation. It has been shown that S. hyicus can be isolated from the pen floor, walls and from the air in herds with outbreaks of EE, but S. hyicus could also be isolated from the environment in sections of the herd in which there were no pigs with EE (Wegener, 1992). If possible, 'all-in, all-out' procedures should be used and efficient cleaning of pens should be performed between batches. In affected herds, fostering or cross fostering should be avoided (Skov-Jensen, 1989). Supplying soft and dry bedding and for weaned pigs, plenty of clean drinking water and electrolyte/glucose-solution may contribute to reduction of disease.

References

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Aarestrup FM; Bager F; Jensen NE; Madsen M; Meyling A; Wegener HC, 1998. Resistance to antimicrobial agents used for animal therapy in pathogenic-, zoonotic- and indicator bacteria isolated from different food animals in Denmark: a baseline study for the Danish Integrated Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring Programme (DANMAP). APMIS, Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica, 106(8):745-770; 125 ref.

Aarestrup FM; Bager F; Jensen NE; Madsen M; Meyling A; Wegener HC, 1998. Surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria isolated from food animals to antimicrobial growth promoters and related therapeutic agents in Denmark. APMIS, Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica, 106(6):606-622; 76 ref.

Allaker RP; Lloyd DH; Noble WC, 1989. Studies on antagonism between porcine skin bacteria. Journal of Applied Bacteriology, 66(6):507-514; 17 ref.

Allaker RP; Whitlock M; Lloyd DH, 1991. Cytotoxicity activity of Staphylococcus hyicus.. Veterinary Microbiology, 26(1/2):161-166; 13 ref.

Amtsberg G, 1978. Untersuchungen zum Vorkommen von Staphylococcus hyicus beim Schwein bzw. von Staphylococcus epidermidis Biotyp 2 bei anderen Tierarten. [Occurrence of Staphylococcus hyicus in pigs and of Staphylococcus epidermidis biotype 2 in other animals.] Deutsche Tierarztliche Wochenschrift, 85(10):385-389.

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