A dominant clonal lineage of Streptococcus uberis in cattle in Germany
Bovine mastitis causes enormous economic losses in the dairy industry with Streptococcus uberis as one of the most common bacterial pathogens causing clinical and subclinical variations. In most cases mastitis can be cured by intramammary administration of antimicrobial agents. However, the severity of the clinical manifestations can vary greatly from mild to severe symtoms. In this study, a comparative genomic analysis of 24 S. uberis isolates from three dairy farms in Germany, affected by different courses of infection was conducted. While there were sporadic mild infections in farm A and B, a large number of infections were observed within a very short period of time in farm C. The comparison of virulence genes, antimicrobial resistance genes and prophage regions revealed no features that might be responsible for this severe course. However, almost all isolates from farm C showed the same, novel MLST profile (ST1373), thus a clonal outbreak cannot be excluded, whereby the actual reason for the particular virulence remains unknown. This study demonstrates the importance of extensive metagenomic studies, including the host genomes and the environment, to gain further evidence on the pathogenicity of S. uberis.
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