More Standardised Tests Needed to Deal with Brachyspira

CANADA - A researcher with the University of Saskatchewan says one of the key challenges in dealing with swine dysentery caused by Brachyspira has been the lack of standardised testing for the pathogen, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 30 December 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, scientists are working to standardise tests used to determine the antimicrobial susceptibility of various species of Brachyspira.

Dr Joe Rubin, an assistant professor in veterinary microbiology with the University of Saskatchewan, says the re-emergence of Brachyspira-associated disease has raised several diagnostic questions.

Dr Joe Rubin - University of Saskatchewan:

There's actually been a fair bit done internationally looking at antimicrobial resistance in brachyspira but one of the big problems that we're facing is that the methods by which these other research groups have done these studies aren't standardised, so it's really difficult to compare results between labs or even to compare results within a lab.

While we might see reports of resistance in Europe, it's really hard to say that we find similar organisms here in North America.

Currently we're working on some really basic methodological questions in our lab and we're basically trying to characterise and determine some basic laboratory methods for quantifying the number of brachyspira in a particular culture and being able to reliably and reproducibly achieve that particular concentration of organisms, just a very basic step that's critical to be standardised before these tests can be done.

From the work that we've done so far, it's really clear that the lack of standardisation we've seen internationally is a really big problem and so we're really excited about the technical advances that we've already made and we're really looking forward to being able to implement this knowledge into a test that can serve the Canadian swine industry.

Dr Rubin says the goal is to ensure antimicrobial use is as prudent as possible.

Further Reading

Find out more information on swine dysentery by clicking here.

Charlotte Rowney

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