Mycoplasma vaccination should be done early
Vaccination of piglets as early as seven days of age is the best way to
prevent enzootic pneumonia, says professor Stan Done, senior veterinary
investigation officer, at the Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA) at Thirsk,
results from an infection involving Mycoplasma
Early vaccination facilitates slow acquisition of Mycoplasma in the face of
a rising local and cellular immune response, and prevents either early or late
onset of disease. It is, Done says, "the best option to prevent colonisation by
large numbers of mycoplasmas in the nursery."
With many producers still using continuous flow systems, UK farms have a
high prevalence of Mycoplasma which builds up early in the nurseries and early
finishing, says Done.
"Recent research has suggested that one infected pig during the nursery
phase will infect at least one more pig during this period. These animals may
then infect a large number of piglets during the finishing period," he
"The main burden of infection occurs at around four to eight weeks of age
when maternal antibodies have disappeared and pigs are moved, mixed and
introduced to new sources of mycoplasma."
Professor Done says that under most UK conditions it is best to avoid
vaccinating sows as this may protect piglets for too long, preventing an early
slow acquisition of Mycoplasma which is necessary to facilitate active immunity
without clinical infection.
Once acquired, mycoplasma is slow to be cleared as it is a surface-living
agent. It may be present 180 days after infection.
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