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1.  Phenotypic and genotypic identification of streptococci and related bacteria isolated from bovine intramammary infections 
Streptococcus spp. and other Gram-positive, catalase-negative cocci (PNC) form a large group of microorganisms which can be found in the milk of cows with intramammary infection. The most frequently observed PNC mastitis pathogens (major pathogens) are Streptococcus uberis, Strep. dysgalactiae, and Strep. agalactiae. The remaining PNC include a few minor pathogens and a large nonpathogenic group. Improved methods are needed for the accurate identification and differentiation of PNC.
A total of 151 PNC were collected from cows with intramammary infection and conclusively identified by 16S rRNA sequencing as reference method. Nine phenotypic microbiological tests (alpha-hemolysis, CAMP reaction, esculin hydrolysis, growth on kanamycin esculin azide agar and on sodium chloride agar, inulin fermentation, hippurate hydrolysis, leucine aminopeptidase and pyrrolidonyl peptidase activity), multiplex PCR for the three major pathogens (target genes for Strep. uberis, Strep. dysgalactiae and Strep. agalactiae: pauA, 16S rRNA, and sklA3, respectively), and mass spectroscopy using the matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF MS) were evaluated for the diagnosis and discrimination of the three clinically most relevant PNC.
The probability that a strain of Strep. uberis, Strep. dysgalactiae and Strep. agalactiae was correctly identified by combining the results of the 9 phenotypic tests was 92%, 90%, and 100%, respectively. Applying the multiplex PCR, all strains of the three major pathogens were correctly identified and no false positive results occurred. Correct identification was observed for all strains of Strep. uberis and Strep. agalactiae using MALDI-TOF MS. In the case of Strep. dysgalactiae, some variability was observed at the subspecies level, but all strains were allocated to one single cluster.
The results of the present study show that reliable identification of the clinically most relevant PNC (Strep. uberis, Strep. agalactiae and Strep. dysgalactiae) can be obtained by use of a combination of colony morphology, hemolysis type and catalase reaction, and a multiplex PCR with specific primers restricted to these 3 pathogens. The MALDI-TOF MS is a fast method that shows promising results, although identification of Strep. dysgalactiae at the subspecies level is not yet satisfactory.
PMCID: PMC3723560  PMID: 23866930
Mastitis; Cattle; Streptococci; Identification; Mass spectroscopy
2.  Meteorological factors and risk of community-acquired Legionnaires’ disease in Switzerland: an epidemiological study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(3):e002428.
The aim of this study was to identify meteorological factors that could be associated with an increased risk of community-acquired Legionnaires’ disease (LD) in two Swiss regions.
Retrospective epidemiological study using discriminant analysis and multivariable Poisson regression.
We analysed legionellosis cases notified between January 2003 and December 2007 and we looked for a possible relationship between incidence rate and meteorological factors.
Community-acquired LD cases in two Swiss regions, the Canton Ticino and the Basle region, with climatically different conditions were investigated.
Primary outcome measures
Vapour pressure, temperature, relative humidity, wind, precipitation and radiation recorded in weather stations of the two Swiss regions during the period January 2003 and December 2007.
Discriminant analysis showed that the two regions are characterised by different meteorological conditions. A multiple Poisson regression analysis identified region, temperature and vapour pressure during the month of infection as significant risk factors for legionellosis. The risk of developing LD was 129.5% (or 136.4% when considering vapour pressure instead of temperature in the model) higher in the Canton Ticino as compared to the Basle region. There was an increased relative risk of LD by 11.4% (95% CI 7.70% to 15.30%) for each 1 hPa rise of vapour pressure or by 6.7% (95% CI 4.22% to 9.22%) for 1°C increase of temperature.
In this study, higher water vapour pressure and heat were associated with a higher risk of community-acquired LD in two regions of Switzerland.
PMCID: PMC3612760  PMID: 23468470
Epidemiology; Bacteriology
3.  Detection limits of Legionella pneumophila in environmental samples after co-culture with Acanthamoeba polyphaga 
BMC Microbiology  2013;13:49.
The efficiency of recovery and the detection limit of Legionella after co-culture with Acanthamoeba polyphaga are not known and so far no investigations have been carried out to determine the efficiency of the recovery of Legionella spp. by co-culture and compare it with that of conventional culturing methods. This study aimed to assess the detection limits of co-culture compared to culture for Legionella pneumophila in compost and air samples. Compost and air samples were spiked with known concentrations of L. pneumophila. Direct culturing and co-culture with amoebae were used in parallel to isolate L. pneumophila and recovery standard curves for both methods were produced for each sample.
The co-culture proved to be more sensitive than the reference method, detecting 102-103 L. pneumophila cells in 1 g of spiked compost or 1 m3 of spiked air, as compared to 105-106 cells in 1 g of spiked compost and 1 m3 of spiked air.
Co-culture with amoebae is a useful, sensitive and reliable technique to enrich L. pneumophila in environmental samples that contain only low amounts of bacterial cells.
PMCID: PMC3598970  PMID: 23442526
Legionella; Culture; Co-culture; Compost; Air; Bioaerosol; Detection limit
4.  Real-Time PCR Investigation of Potential Vectors, Reservoirs, and Shedding Patterns of Feline Hemotropic Mycoplasmas▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(12):3798-3802.
Three hemotropic mycoplasmas have been identified in pet cats: Mycoplasma haemofelis, “Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum,” and “Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis.” The way in which these agents are transmitted is largely unknown. Thus, this study aimed to investigate fleas, ticks, and rodents as well as saliva and feces from infected cats for the presence of hemotropic mycoplasmas, to gain insight into potential transmission routes for these agents. DNA was extracted from arthropods and from rodent blood or tissue samples from Switzerland and from salivary and fecal swabs from two experimentally infected and six naturally infected cats. All samples were analyzed with real-time PCR, and some positive samples were confirmed by sequencing. Feline hemotropic mycoplasmas were detected in cat fleas and in a few Ixodes sp. and Rhipicephalus sp. ticks collected from animals but not in ticks collected from vegetation or from rodent samples, although the latter were frequently Mycoplasma coccoides PCR positive. When shedding patterns of feline hemotropic mycoplasmas were investigated, “Ca. Mycoplasma turicensis” DNA was detected in saliva and feces at the early but not at the late phase of infection. M. haemofelis and “Ca. Mycoplasma haemominutum” DNA was not amplified from saliva and feces of naturally infected cats, despite high hemotropic mycoplasma blood loads. Our results suggest that besides an ostensibly indirect transmission by fleas, direct transmission through saliva and feces at the early phase of infection could play a role in the epizootiology of feline hemotropic mycoplasmas. Neither the investigated tick nor the rodent population seems to represent a major reservoir for feline hemotropic mycoplasmas in Switzerland.
PMCID: PMC1932730  PMID: 17468284

Results 1-4 (4)