Leijon M, Atkins E, Persson Waller K, Artursson K
J Dairy Sci 104 (11) 11945-11954 [2021-11-00; online 2021-08-26]
Bovine clinical mastitis is an important problem for the dairy industry, and Staphylococcus aureus is a common mastitis-causing pathogen in many countries. Detailed knowledge on genetic variation of Staph. aureus strains within the bovine population, including changes over time, can be useful for mastitis control programs, because severity of disease and effects on milk production are at least partly strain-associated. Therefore, the major aim of this study was to compare sequence types of Staph. aureus isolated from cases of bovine clinical mastitis from 2002 to 2003 with sequence types of a more recent set of isolates collected from 2013 to 2018, using core genome multi-locus sequence typing (cgMLST). We also wanted to compare antibiotic resistance genes of isolates from the 2 sets, to identify changes that may have occurred over time in the Staph. aureus population. A total of 157 isolates of Staph. aureus, almost equally distributed between the 2 time periods, were subjected to high-throughput sequencing and cgMLST. The results showed that the most prevalent sequence types found among the 2002 to 2003 isolates belonged to the clonal complexes CC97, CC133, and CC151, and that those complexes still dominated among the isolates from 2013 to 2018. However, a population shift from CC133 to CC97 and CC151 over time was observed. Likewise, no important differences in prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes were found between the 2 sets of isolates. As expected, genes belonging to the major facilitator superfamily of transporter proteins, and multidrug and toxic compound extrusion transporters, were very common. Moreover, several genes and mutations conferring resistance to fosfomycin were present, but not in CC97 isolates. The β-lactamase gene blaZ was found in only 3 out of 81 isolates from 2002 to 2003 and 1 out of 76 isolates in 2013 to 2018. In conclusion, the results indicate that mastitis-associated Staph. aureus strains circulating among dairy cows in Sweden exhibit a remarkable genotypic persistence over a time frame of close to 15 yr.