December 20, 2013


European researchers conduct study on monitoring Glässer's disease in pigs

With the participation of Virginia Aragón (CReSA researcher), a study published in the Journal of Bacteriology opens new possibilities in assisting the diagnosis and monitoring of Glässer's disease in pigs.

A collaborative study between researchers of CReSA (Barcelona), the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Cambridge (UK) and other European research groups has identified the DNA sequences of Haemophilus parasuis responsible for the bacterial capsule production.

H. parasuis is a member of the family Pasteurellaceae, which can be frequently found in the upper airways from healthy pigs. However it is better known as the etiologic agent of Glässer's disease in pigs, a systemic disease characterised by fibronous polyserositis that causes a high morbidity and mortality in piglets. H. parasuis can also produce pneumonia and sudden death. Glässer's disease has achieved considerable importance during the last years and it is also known as one of the main causes for economic losses in the pig production.

Polysaccharides composing the capsule are potential virulence factors of this bacterium. H. parasuis strains are classified in 15 serovars that are differenced by several characteristics, including virulence. Sequences of the 15 reference strains have been identified and characterised and specific sequences among the genes encoding the capsule of each serovar have been detected in this study.

This finding is a first step towards understanding the basis of strain antigenic specificity and opens new possibilities for the developing of molecular serotyping systems, which could assist in the diagnosis and control of the disease.