Van Poucke1*, S.; Michiels1, A.; Galé2, I.; Angelats2, D.; Nodar2, L.
1HIPRA Benelux, Ghent, Belgium. / 2HIPRA, Amer (Girona), Spain. *Corresponding author (sjouke.vanpoucke@hipra.com)


Oedema Disease (OD) is an enterotoxaemia caused by certain  Escherichia coli’s (E. coli) colonizing the small intestine and  producing verotoxin 2e (Vt2e)1. This enterotoxaemia might result  in acute mortality, nervous symptoms, respiratory distress and  growth retardation. Also, the disease is one of the reasons for  prophylactic antibiotics treatments or the use of zinc oxide at  weaning. In this study, the effect of piglet vaccination on mortality  and antibiotic treatment was monitored in a Belgian multi-site  farrow to finishing farm.


The study was performed in a 5-week batch system farm with 300  sows. Historically mortality in this farm was high (5% or more),  especially the first week after weaning at 21 days of age. In May  and June 2018 several bacterial cultures were performed on
swabs of the small intestines collected during necropsy. In  addition, several oral fluids from 6 different pens were collected  from piglets 2 weeks post-weaning2. As the presence of Vt2e  carrying E. coli’s was confirmed, it was decided to start  VEPURED®3,4 vaccination (1ml IM) of piglets between 3-5 days of  age in July 2018. The mortality and antibiotic treatment was  compared for 3 non-vaccinated groups with 3 vaccinated groups.  Statistical analyze was performed on the control and vaccinated  group weaned in July by a proportion test with the software R,  version 3.5.1.


The bacterial cultures revealed the presence of high numbers of E.  coli’s and hemolytic E. coli’s as well as Streptococcus suis and  Clostridium spp to a lower degree. Samples were negative for  Salmonella. The qPCR targeting the Vt2e gene in the oral fluids  confirmed the presence of the OD causing agent in all 6 oral fluids.  The 3 groups of in total 2,254 non-vaccinated piglets had an  average mortality of 8.76%. In the 3 groups of in total 2,120
VEPURED® vaccinated piglets, the average mortality dropped to  0.66% in the nursery period. This difference in mortality was  shown to be statistically different for the 2 groups in July  (p=3.926*10-6).

All groups received tylosine at 15 mg/kg during 14 days after  weaning. The non-vaccinated piglets however also were treated  with amoxycilline 20mg/kg for 14 days, paromomycin sulfate 25  mg/kg for 8 days and zinc oxide.


The mortality on this farm was statistically significant reduced by  vaccination of the piglets with VEPURED®. Apart from reducing  mortality, the vaccination could also be a useful tool to reduce  high antibiotic consumption in farms with clinical oedema  disease outbreaks and help to overcome the ban on the use of  zinc oxide in Belgium in December 2020.

1. Zimmerman, JL et al. April 2012. Diseases of Swine 10th Edition.  Wiley-Blackwell.

2. Valls L., Sánchez A., Maldonado J. 2018. Improving oedema  disease diagnosis in pigs by detecting the vt2e toxin gen in oral  fluid by qPCR. Proceedings 10th ESPHM 223 (BBD-045).

3. Mallorqui J. Simon-Grife M., Ferrer-Soler L., Roca M., March R.,  Sitja M. 2018. Reduced mortality and morbidity associated with  verotoxin 2e-induced edema disease in pigs using a recombinant  verotoxin 2e vaccine. J Swine Health Prod 26, 253-261.

4. Perozo, E et al. A multicentric, randomized field trial on the  efficacy and safety of VEPURED®, a new vaccine against edema  disease in pigs. Animal and Veterinary Sciences. 2018;  6(6):95-101.


The authors would like to acknowledge the participating vet clinic  and farmer.