ABSTRACT

Toxoplasma gondii, hepatitis E virus (HEV), and Salmonella are zoonotic foodborne pathogens that may be transmitted to humans through the consumption of raw or undercooked pork. The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of anti–T. gondii, anti-HEV, and anti-Salmonella antibodies from healthy pigs at slaughter in Switzerland. From August to September 2020, the diaphragm muscle of Swiss fattening pigs was collected in three Swiss abattoirs from 188 farms. Two randomly chosen pig carcasses per farm were selected. On the basis of the slaughter data, we noted the production system and the canton of origin, comparing indoor (n = 120) and free-range (n = 68) farming and regional allocation. The meat juice of these samples was analyzed for pathogen-specific antibodies by using commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits. The seroprevalences were 1.3% for T. gondii, 71.8% for the HEV, and 5.3% for Salmonella, respectively. Comparing the origins, the results of many cantons were not meaningful due to the low number of samples. No regional accumulations were found for T. gondii and HEV. The results showed that 2.1% of the farms had least one T. gondii–seropositive animal, 80.3% had at least one HEV-seropositive animal, and 8.5% had at least one Salmonella-seropositive animal, respectively. The seropositivity of T. gondii was higher in free-range pigs than in indoor pigs, whereas anti-Salmonella antibodies were more common in pigs from indoor farming than in outdoor pigs. The seroprevalence of anti-HEV antibodies was similar in free-range and indoor farming pigs. Compared with studies from 2012, the seroprevalence of T. gondii has decreased, whereas the seroprevalence of the HEV has increased and is highly prevalent among fattening pigs in Switzerland. The low seroprevalence of Salmonella has remained stable in recent years.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • This study updated serological data on three foodborne and zoonotic agents in pigs.

  • Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii among Swiss pigs at slaughter was 1.3%.

  • Salmonella seroprevalence among Swiss pigs at slaughter was 5.3%.

  • Seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus was high at 71.8%.

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