Occurrence of Pathogens in Wild Rodents Caught on Swedish Farms

The prevalence of poultry and zoonotic pathogens was low, according to new research from Sweden examining the occurrence of a range of pathogens in wild rodents caught on pig and chicken farms.
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A total of 207 wild rodents were caught on nine pig farms, five chicken farms and five non-farm locations in Sweden and surveyed for a selection of bacteria, parasites and viruses, report A. Backhans of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala and co-authors there and at the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Sweden's National Food Agency in the journal, Epidemiology and Infection.

They found that Lawsonia intracellularia and pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica were only detected in rodents on pig farms - nine per cent and eight per cent prevalence, respectively - which indicates that these agents are more likely to be transmitted to rodents from pigs or the environment on infected farms.

Brachyspira hyodysenteriae (one per cent), Brachyspira intermedia (two per cent), Campylobacter jejuni (four per cent), Campylobacter upsaliensis (two per cent), leptospires (seven per cent) and encephalomyocarditis virus (nine per cent) were also detected from rodents not in contact with farm animals.

Giardia and Cryptosporidium spp. were common although no zoonotic types were verified, and Salmonella enterica was isolated from one of 11 mice on one farm but not detected by PCR from any of the rodents.

Backhans and co-authors added that Trichinella spp. and Toxoplasma gondii were not detected on any of the farms.


Backhans, A., M. Jacobson, I. Hansson, M. Lebbad, S. Thisted Lambertz, E. Gammelgård, M. Saager, O. Akande and C. Fellström. 2012. Occurrence of pathogens in wild rodents caught on Swedish pig and chicken farms. Epidemiology and Infection/FirstView Article, 1-7. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268812002609

Further Reading

You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

Find out more information on the diseases mentioned in this article by clicking here.

November 2012
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