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Phylogeny, virulence factors and antimicrobial susceptibility of Escherichia coli isolated in clinical bovine mastitis

Suojala, Leena, Pohjanvirta, Tarja, Simojoki, Heli, Myllyniemi, Anna-Liisa, Pitkälä, Anna, Pelkonen, Sinikka, Pyörälä, Satu
Veterinary microbiology 2011 v.147 no.3-4 pp. 383-388
Escherichia coli, antibiotic resistance, bovine mastitis, dairy cows, dairy herds, genes, phylogeny, polymerase chain reaction, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, virulence
The aim of this study was to identify specific phylogeny groups, virulence genes or antimicrobial resistance traits of Escherichia coli isolated in bovine mastitis associated to clinical signs, persistence of intramammary infection in the quarter and recovery from mastitis. A total of 154 E. coli isolates from bovine clinical mastitis, 144 from the acute stage and 10 from follow-up samples 3 weeks later, originating from 144 cows in 65 dairy herds in Southern Finland were investigated. Phylogeny groups and virulence genes of the isolates were determined using polymerase chain reaction, and antimicrobial susceptibility using the VetMIC™ microdilution method. In ten cows (11.8%), infection persisted, confirmed by re-isolation of the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis type from the affected quarter at 3 weeks post-treatment. The majority of isolates, 119 (82.6%), belonged to phylogeny group A, which mainly consisted of commensal strains. Altogether 56 isolates (38.9%) had at least one virulence gene detected. Most common virulence genes detected were irp2, iucD, papC iss; genes svg, stx1, stx2, cnf1 and hlyA were not found. Combinations of virulence genes varied greatly. Forty (27.8%) of the 144 E. coli isolates showed resistance to at least one antimicrobial tested. None of the studied phylogeny groups, virulence factors or antimicrobial resistance traits was associated with clinical signs, persistence of intramammary infection or clinical recovery from mastitis. The results support the conclusion that mastitis-causing E. coli bacteria are typical commensals.