A statistical approach to identify prevalent virulence factors responsible for post-weaning diarrhoeic piglets


Lin CS, Huang CH, Adi VSK, Huang CW, Cheng YI, Chen JH, Liu YC (2022): A statistical approach to identify prevalent virulence factors responsible for post-weaning diarrhoeic piglets. Vet Med-Czech 67, 430–439.

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A statistical approach was carried out to identify the prevalent virulence factors responsible for post-weaning diarrhoea (PWD). Healthy piglets’ faecal samples and diarrhoeic piglets’ rectal swab specimens were secured. Twenty-six (26) and 100 independent enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strains were subsequently isolated. These strains were assessed utilising polymerase chain reaction to identify the encoding genes of six virulence factors: heat-labile enterotoxin (LT; encoded by eltAB), heat-stable enterotoxin A (STa; encoded by estA), heat-stable enterotoxin B (STb; encoded by estB), enteroaggregative E. coli heat-stable enterotoxin 1 (EAST1; encoded by astA), Shiga toxin 2e (Stx2e; encoded by stx2e), and F18 fimbriae (encoded by fedA). The LT and ST secretions were investigated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. From direct observation, no stx2e was evident in the 126 strains. Among the 26 strains retrieved from the healthy piglets, none harboured fedA or secreted LT; 23% (6/26) secreted ST, and 50% (13/26) carried astA. A statistical regression was applied on the 100 E. coli strains retrieved from the diarrhoeic piglets, where fedA was set as the dependent variable and the enterotoxin secretions were set as the independent variables. The results exhibit that the LT secretion was the only significant factor (P < 0.000 1) correlated to fedA in the diarrhoeic piglets; thus, it is concluded that the prevalent virulence factors for PWD were the ECET strain with F18 fimbriae adhesion and LT secretion, but not astA or stx2e.

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