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Occurrence of Zoonotic Clostridia and Yersinia in Healthy Cattle

Schmid, A., Messelhäusser, U., Hörmansdorfer, S., Sauter-Louis, C., Mansfeld, R.
Journal of food protection 2013 v.76 no.10 pp. 1697-1703
Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium difficile, Yersinia enterocolitica, beef cattle, botulinum toxin, dairy farming, farms, feces, finishing, genes, pathogens, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, summer, Germany
Zoonotic pathogens are a frequent cause of disease worldwide. This study was designed to determine the occurrence of Clostridium difficile, Clostridium botulinum, and Yersinia enterocolitica in cattle in southern Bavaria, Germany. The study population included 49 farms; 34 were dairy farms (30 also fattening beef cattle) and 15 were solely beef cattle farms. Fecal and dust samples were collected from summer 2011 to summer 2012 and analyzed using a combination of enrichment procedures and real-time PCR. For the detection of C. difficile, samples were screened for the presence of the tpi gene and toxin genes tcdA, tcdB, and cdtA. Samples also were screened for genes for C. botulinum toxins A through F and for the ail gene of Y. enterocolitica. Of 506 samples, C. difficile genes were found in 29 samples (5.7%): 25 samples from dairy farms and 4 samples from beef cattle farms. Toxin genes were identified in 17 samples, with toxigenic profiles of A+B+CDT–, A+B–CDT+, and A+B+CDT+. C. botulinum toxin genes were not detected in fecal samples from cattle, but the gene for toxin B was detected in 1 (0.8%) of 125 dust samples. Y. enterocolitica genes were found in 6 (1.6%) of 382 fecal samples from three dairy farms and one beef cattle farm. This study revealed that C. difficile and Y. enterocolitica are rare on cattle farms in Bavaria, Germany. In contrast to results of previous studies, C. botulinum was not detected in fecal samples but was found very rarely in dust samples from the cattle environment.