In order to identify the best set of tests to accurately detect genetically diverse strains of Mycoplasmal pneumonia in swine herds, an Iowa State University research team conducted a multi-site evaluation from laboratories specializing in mycoplasma research throughout the world.

The labs tested their panels of mycoplasma isolates against up to 19 different polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays targeting six different genes that included both gel-based and real-time tests.

The results from this study identified four gel-based and two real-time PCR assays that were able to detect all of the isolates that were evaluated.

These findings could lead to expanded standardized PCR tests for better detection of mycoplasma in diagnostic lab samplings by reducing the odds for false negative results.

Reliable diagnosis of this organism continues to be a problem in confirming the negative status of herds due to delay in seroconversion following infection.

Consequently, many current tests have a high rate of false positives or false negatives, complicating the process of trying to purchase breeding stock that is “free” of mycoplasma.

The assays that were identified will improve the accuracy in identifying the herd status for mycoplasma, and in the process eliminate the difficult problem of consistent and accurate identification of mycoplasma isolates.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Pork Board.

Researcher: Eileen Thacker, DVM, currently with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and formerly of Iowa State University when this research was conducted. For more information, contact Lisa Becton, DVM, of the National Pork Board at