Comparison of different detection methods for Ascaris suum infection on Austrian swine farms

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Background: Ascaris suum, the large roundworm of pigs, is one of the economically most important pig parasites worldwide. In Austria it is commonly diagnosed by monitoring livers for milk spots at the slaughterhouse and intravital diagnosis (flotation for detection of fecal egg shedding). Recently, serological diagnosis based on the detection of specific antibodies with an ELISA (SERASCA®) with high sensitivity has been developed. To introduce and evaluate serology for A. suum screening in Austrian pigs, blood (for serology) (n = 177) and feces (for copromicroscopy) (n = 177) were taken from randomly selected slaughter pig batches from 18 farms at a slaughterhouse in Lower Austria. In addition, livers presented at slaughter (n = 844; max. 70/farm) were evaluated for milk spots. Results: Overall, 19% of the livers were milk spot-positive (22% of those with complete diagnostic evaluations). Thirteen percent of the fecal samples contained A. suum eggs, while 69% of the blood samples were serologically positive. Despite we did not determine the sensitivity of the ELISA specifically, results ouf our study confirmed the high sensitivity of the ELISA, which was claimed by the manufacturer prior to our work (sensitivity: liver assessment: 23.5–27.0%; copromicroscopy: 8.5–9.0%; ELISA: 99.5%), and a high percentage of A. suum infections that remained undetected by standard liver assessment. Conclusions: This suggests that the current method of roundworm diagnostics is insufficient and antibody detection at the end of the fattening period should be established as the standard procedure.




Joachim, A., Winkler, C., Ruczizka, U., Ladinig, A., Koch, M., Tichy, A., & Schwarz, L. (2021). Comparison of different detection methods for Ascaris suum infection on Austrian swine farms. Porcine Health Management, 7(1).

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