Survival of Pathogenic Intestinal Spirochetes Kept in Pure Cultures and in Pig Feces Held at Four Different Temperatures

1999 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Swine Report. Porcine colonic spirochetosis (PCS) caused by Serpulina pilosicoli has been identified as a contributing cause of diarrhea and reduced performance of growing pigs in all major swine producing countries. The current view that transmission of PCS occurs through contamination of the environment by acutely or persistently infected pigs is based on the assumption that the spirochetes remain viable in the environment. The purpose of this study was to compare the viability of Serpulina pilosicoli kept in pure culture or mixed with feces at four different temperatures over time with that of Serpulina hyodysenteriae. The results of the present study indicated Serpulina pilosicoli survived considerably longer than Serpulina hyodysenteriae in pure cultures held at 75oF and 99oF, and at all temperatures in spiked fecal materials. Pure cultures of Serpulina pilosicoli survived for at least 63 days at -158oF, seven to 14 days at 39oF 14 to 28 days at 75oF and seven to 28 days at 99oF. The survival of each spirochete mixed with feces was similar as pure cultures for samples kept at -158oF and 39oF but was reduced to one to seven days at 75oF and one to three days at 99oF for Serpulina pilosicoli and