Helicobacter infection: What should a swine practitioner know?
Robert M. Friendship, DVM, MSc, DipABVP; Sergey Melnichouk, DVM; Nonie L. Smart, DVM, MSc, PhD
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Gastric microbiology of the pig has been given a great dealof attention in the past decade. Much of the work in this areahas been published in human medical journals, and therefore, swinepractitioners may not be aware of these recent findings. The pighas been used in the study of gastroduodenal ulcers of humans.The stomach of pigs has been successfully colonized experimentallyby Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium associated with gastriculceration and gastritis in humans. Although H. pyloridoes not naturally inhabit the pig's stomach, there are spiral-shapedbacteria that can commonly be found in the porcine gastric mucosa.This bacterium has been tentatively named Helicobacter heilmannii(formerly Gastrospirillum suis). Helicobacter heilmanniiis found in several other species, including dogs, cats, and occasionallyhumans. Survey studies show that pig contact is an important riskfactor for humans becoming infected with H. heilmannii.Infection of humans with H. heilmannii causes a milderform of chronic gastritis than H. pylori and may be self-limiting.At the present time, it is unclear whether H. heilmanniiinfection of swine causes disease. In swine, the site of ulcerationis in the pars oesophagea whereas H. heilmannii colonizesthe fundic and pyloric regions. Pigs experimentally infected havenot developed gastric ulcers; however, several epidemiologicalstudies have found a strong association between the presence ofH. heilmannii and ulceration of the pars oesophagea. Practitionersneed to consider this organism as a potential pathogen and a potentialzoonotic bacterium.
Keywords: Helicobacter, ulcers
Cite as: Friendship RM, Melnichouk S, Smart NL. Helicobacter infection: What should a swine practitioner know?. J Swine Health Prod 1999;7(4):167-172.
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