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Swine erysipelas: a re-emerging bacterium with a significant economic impact


The word Erysipelas comes from the Latin “Eruthros” meaning “Red” and “Pella” meaning “Skin”, referring to the classic red marks that occur on the skin at the most acute stage of the disease commonly known as “Diamond Skin Disease”.

The disease, which was discovered in 1876 by the German physician Robert Koch, is caused by the bacterium Erysipelothrix spp., a gram-positive bacterium with bacillary morphology. To date, 8 different species of Erysipelothrix spp. have been described, with Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae being the primary causal agent of the disease in pigs. In addition, a total of 28 serotypes of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae have been described, with more than 80% of those pertaining to serotype 1 and 2.¹

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