A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used to confirm the presence of ileal symbiont (IS) intracellularis in 3 swine herds with a history of proliferative enteritis (PE). Two pooled fecal specimens, each comprising 5 individual stool samples, were collected from pen floors to screen for the presence of IS intracellularis and determine the age range of pigs shedding the organism. IS intracellularis was detected in the feces of clinically normal 10-25-week-old grower/finisher pigs, indicating that this age range of pigs was the main source of infection for younger nursery pigs. Shedding continued without clinical disease when 10-100 g/ton of tylosin or 10 g/ton of chlortetracycline was added to the feed. PCR testing of pooled fecal samples can be used to identify groups of pigs affected with PE. The results of this study indicate that this PCR assay has the potential to accurately assess the IS intracellularis infection status of swine herds and the association of IS intracellularis with PE and growth performance.
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