Prevalence and distribution of multilocus sequence types of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from bulk tank milk and cows with mastitis in Pennsylvania

Asha Thomas, Shubhada Chothe, Maurice Byukusenge, Tammy Mathews, Traci Pierre, Subhashinie Kariyawasam, Erin Luley, Suresh Kuchipudi, Bhushan Jayarao

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A total of 163 S. aureus isolates; 113 from mastitic milk (MM) and 50 from bulk tank milk (BTM) (2008, 2013–2015) submitted for bacteriologic analysis at the Penn State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory were examined for their phenotypic and genotypic characteristics. Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) analysis identified 16 unique sequence types (STs) which belonged to eight clonal complexes (CCs). Majority of the isolates were variants of CC97 (68.7%) and CC151 (25.1%). CC97 comprised of seven STs, of which two were new STs (ST3273, ST3274), while CC151 comprised of three STs of which ST3272 was identified for the first time. Several farms had more than one ST type that were either members of the same clonal complex or unrelated STs. On one farm, six different STs of both categories were seen over the years within the farm. It was observed that ST352 and ST151 were the two main clonal populations in cattle not only in Pennsylvania but also globally. Most isolates were susceptible to all the antibiotics evaluated. 6.7% of isolates showed resistance to vancomycin and penicillin. Two isolates of ST398 showed multidrug resistance (>3 antibiotics) against clindamycin, erythromycin, tetracycline, and penicillin. It was noted that 59 of 163 (36.2%) isolates encoded for enterotoxigenic genes. Enterotoxin genes seg/sei accounted for ~85% of enterotoxin positive isolates. Toxic shock syndrome gene tsst-1 alone was positive in two isolates (ST352, ST 2187). 97.5% of CC151 isolates were enterotoxin seg/sei positive. Most isolates were positive for lukED (95%) and lukAB (96.3%) leukotoxin genes. Bovine specific bi-component leucocidin lukMF’ was present in 54% of isolates. A prominent observation of this study was the explicit association of lukMF’ with lineages ST151 and ST352. In conclusion, the findings of the study, suggest that small number of S. aureus STs types (ST352, ST2187, ST3028, and ST151) are associated with majority of cases of bovine mastitis in Pennsylvania dairy farms. It was observed that one ST of S. aureus predominated in the herd and this ST can coexist with several other ST types of S. aureus strains. When STs were interpreted along with virulence, leucocidin genes and antimicrobial resistance, ST-variants allowed better interpretation of the S. aureus molecular epidemiologic findings specifically for tracing recurrence or persistence of infections in cow over time, among cows in the herd, and between herds in Pennsylvania.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0248528
JournalPloS one
Issue number3 March
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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