Enzootic pneumonia is one of the major endemic diseases in pigs. Disease-causing Mycoplasma strains render pigs more susceptible to other respiratory pathogens such as Pasteurella and PRRSV. Current aim to induce herd protection, reducing the overall level of lung lesions and clinical disease, but they will not eliminate disease or prevent every pig from suffering some challenge. More importantly, piglets are infected in the first days after birth. Therefore, the project is responding to an industry need. Establishing a bank of bacterial strains will act as a reference resource for future studies that map changes in the pathogen over time either through changes in farming practice of medicinal use or following the use of vaccines. As there is no active surveillance for endemic diseases the role of industry in identifying hotspots for enzootic pneumonia is critical. 

The project was aimed at generating a bank of M.hyopneumoniae strains relevant for the UK pig industry and carrying out preliminary tests to identify strains that can be more easily genetically modified and subsequently used as the basis for development of defined vaccines against enzootic pneumonia. Changes in practice will relate to improved animal health and production characteristics and reduced antimicrobial usage through reduced circulation of disease in the pig population. These are long term outcomes and are reliant on a successful vaccine being developed from strains included in the strain bank generated during the project.

Contact details:

Dirk Werling

Professor for Molecular Immunology

Royal Veterinary College


Twitter: @WerlingLab

Webpage: https://www.rvc.ac.uk/research/laboratories/werling-lab-molecular-immunology-group