The fecal presence of enterotoxin and F4 genes as an indicator of efficacy of treatment with colistin sulfate in pigs
Article [Author's Original]
Is part ofBMC microbiology ; vol. 17.
Background : Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strains producing multiple enterotoxins are important causes of post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) in pigs. The aim of the present study was to investigate the fecal presence of ETEC enterotoxin as well as F4 and F18 genes as an indicator of colistin sulfate (CS) efficacy for treatment of PWD in pigs. Forty-eight piglets were weaned at the age of 21 days, and were divided into four groups: challenged treated, challenged untreated, unchallenged treated, and unchallenged untreated. Challenge was performed using 109 CFU of an ETEC: F4 strain, and treatment was conducted using oral CS at the dose of 50,000 IU/kg. The fecal presence of genes encoding for STa, STb, LT, F4 and F18 was detected using PCR. Results : The PCR amplification of ETEC virulence genes showed that nearly 100% of pigs excreted genes encoding for STa and STb toxins in the feces before the challenge. These genes, in the absence of the gene encoding F4, were considered as a marker for F4-negative ETEC. One day after ETEC: F4 oral challenge pigs in the two challenged groups excreted the genes encoding LT and F4 in the feces. These genes were considered as a marker for F4-positive ETEC. However, the gene encoding F18 was not detected in any fecal samples of the 4 groups throughout the experiment. After only 3 days of successive oral treatment with CS, a significant reduction in both the F4-positive and negative ETEC populations was observed in the challenged treated group compared to the challenged untreated group (p < 0.0001). Conclusions : Our study is among the first to report that under controlled farming conditions, oral CS treatment had a significant effect on both fecal F4-positive and F4-negative ETEC in pigs. However, CS clinical efficiency was correlated with non-detection of F4-positive ETEC in the feces. Furthermore the fecal presence of F4-negative ETEC was not associated with clinical symptoms of post-weaning diarrhea in pigs.