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...and more -- see the avian & livestock test menu for a complete listing of avian and livestock assays.

Brachyspira pilosicoli PCR test for pigs
avian & livestock assay data sheet

Brachyspira pilosicoli

Test code:
B0100 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of Brachyspira pilosicoli by real time polymerase chain reaction.

There are at least five distinct species of Brachyspira (Serpulina) known to infect the large intestine of swine, namely Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, Brachyspira pilosicoli, Brachyspira innocens, Serpulina intermedia, and Serpulina murdochii. Only Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, which causes swine dysentery, and Brachyspira pilosicoli, which causes intestinal spirochetosis, are pathogenic.

Infection of pigs with B. pilosicoli results in non-fatal intestinal spirochetosis. Weaned pigs, primarily 8-16 weeks of age, are especially susceptible to infection. Uncomplicated intestinal spirochetosis is usually not associated with mortality, but economic loss can be severe due to reduced growth rate of the pigs. The major clinical symptom is diarrhea. Feces from infected pigs are usually soft and wet with a consistency like "wet cement". In later stage of disease progression, feces may change to a watery consistency with a small amount of mucus (i.e., have an "oily" sheen). During recovery or in chronic cases, feces may contain thick tags of mucus. In rare circumstances, blood may be seen in feces. Affected pigs generally remain alert and active, but appetite is decreased. Infected pigs may show abdominal discomfort and/or may appear gaunt and develop rough hair coats.

In addition to swine, B. pilosicoli infects humans, nonhuman primates, dogs, and several species of birds. Humans infected with these bacteria may develop mild nausea, abdominal discomfort, and severe headaches.

All five of these distinct species of Brachyspira are morphologically indistinguishable; thus, enteric spirochetal diseases in swine can rarely be confirmed by histopathologic examination alone. However, this pathogen can be specifically identified by polymerase chain reaction (Fellstrom et al., 1997; Park et al., 1995).


  • Help confirm the disease causing agent
  • Help ensure that swine herds are free of Brachyspira pilosicoli bacteria
  • Early prevention of spread of the bacteria among a herd
  • Minimize human exposure to the bacteria

Fellstrom, C., Pettersson, B., Thomson, J., Gunnarsson, A., Persson, M. and Johansson, K.E. (1997) Identification of Serpulina species associated with porcine colitis by biochemical analysis and PCR. J. Clin. Microbiol. 35:462-467.

Park, N.Y., Chung, C.Y., McLaren, A.J., Atyeo, R.F. and Hampson, D.J. (1995) Polymerase chain reaction for identification of human and porcine spirochaetes recovered from cases of intestinal spirochaetosis. FEMS Microbiol. Letters. 125:225-230.

Specimen requirements: 0.2 ml feces, or rectal swab, or environmental swab, or 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA (purple top) tube, or 0.2 ml serum.

Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.

For all specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain frozen in transit. See shipping instructions for more information.

Turnaround time: 2 business days

Methodology: Qualitative real time PCR

Normal range: Nondetected

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