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Quick guide to Mycoplasma haemosuis (Eperythrozoonosis)

By Dr Andrew Tucker,  CS Vet
What is Eperythrozoonosis?
Eperythrozoonosis is caused by Mycoplasma haemosuis, formerly known as Eperythrozoon suis.  M. Haemosuis locates itself on the membrane of the red blood cell. This causes the red blood cell to become quite fragile and leads to its break down.
How do you know if it’s on your farm?
PRRS is thought to be a predisposing factor to Eperythrozoonosis and so it is a common problem in countries where PRRS is present. This may be one of the reasons why Eperyhtrozoonosis is fairly uncommon in South Africa.
If present the most noticeable sign is white or yellow neonatal piglets (0 – 5 days of age). This resolves leaving litters of uneven size. It can also be present in weaners. Sows can be affected developing anaemia as well as fever which in turn can result in abortions and stillbirths.
How do you treat or prevent it?
Piglets can be infected while in the uterus and hence be born with the disease. It can however also be spread by lice, infected needles or ingestion of secretions particularly blood and urine.
Diagnosis can be confirmed on a blood smear and pigs can be treated with certain antibiotics.
Pig Diseases – D.J. Taylor; Diseases of Swine – Straw, Zimmerman, D’Allaire, Taylor

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