In Denmark, a serological Salmonella surveillance programme in finishing pig herds has been in place since 1995. The programme was founded on data from experimental studies, which demonstrated a strong association between Salmonella serology and the prevalence of these bacteria. The current study was carried out in three Danish abattoirs to evaluate the correlation under field conditions. A total of 160 Danish finishing pig herds were included. Seven out of these were examined twice, yielding a total of 167 observations. The herds were selected according to their herd serology based on data from the national surveillance. From each herd, samples were taken from 10 finishers at slaughter. The prevalence of Salmonella bacteria was measured at four sites: (1) caecal-content; (2) carcass surface; (3) pharynx; and (4) caecal lymph nodes. A logistic regression model was constructed for each sampling site. Abattoir, sanitary slaughter and herd seroprevalence were used as explanatory variables. The results demonstrated that there was a strong association between herd serology and the prevalence of Salmonella bacteria measured at three of the sampling sites: caecal-content, pharynx, and carcass surface. For these sites, the odds for being culture-positive for Salmonella varied from 1.3 to 1.5 for each increase of 10% in herd serology (P < 0.0001). For caecal lymph nodes, however, no linear association was found.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier B.V.