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1.  Epidemiology and molecular characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage isolates from bovines 
BMC Veterinary Research  2014;10:153.
Background
Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium usually found on skin and mucous membranes of warm blooded animals. Resistance in S. aureus has been increasingly reported though depending on the clonal lineage. Indeed, while hospital acquired (HA)-methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) are typically multi-resistant, community associated (CA)-MRSA are by large more susceptible to many antibiotics. Although S. aureus isolated from animals are often susceptible to most antibiotics, multi-resistant livestock associated (LA)-MRSA have been recovered from bovine mastitis.
In this study, we investigated the prevalence and types of MRSA present in the nose of healthy bovines of different age groups and rearing practices. Since no validated methods for MRSA isolation from nasal swabs were available, we compared two isolation methods. Molecular characterization was performed by means of spa-typing, MLST, SCCmec typing and microarray analysis for the detection of antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes.
Results
MRSA between herd prevalence in bovines was estimated at 19.8%. There was a marked difference between rearing practices with 9.9%, 10.2% and 46.1% of the dairy, beef and veal calve farms respectively being MRSA positive. No significant difference was observed between both isolation methods tested. Most isolates were ST398 spa type t011 or closely related spa types. Few ST239 spa type t037 and t388 and ST8 spa type t121 were also found. SCCmec types carried by these strains were mainly type IV(2B), IV(2B&5) and type V. Type III and non-typeable SCCmec were recovered to a lesser extent. All isolates were multi-resistant to at least two antimicrobials in addition to the expected cefoxitin and penicillin resistance, with an average of resistance to 9.5 different antimicrobials. Isolates selected for microarray analysis carried a broad range of antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes.
Conclusion
MRSA were mainly present in veal farms, compared to the lower prevalence in dairy or beef farms. Multi-resistance in these strains was high. Though mainly CC398 spa t011 was found, the genetic diversity was higher than what was found for pigs in Belgium. CC8 strains, a typically human lineage but also recently found also in association with bovines, has been retrieved here also.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-153
PMCID: PMC4103977  PMID: 25011427
Nasal carriage; Bovine; Epidemiology; Molecular characterization; Antimicrobial resistance
2.  Clostridium perfringens strains from bovine enterotoxemia cases are not superior in in vitro production of alpha toxin, perfringolysin O and proteolytic enzymes 
Background
Bovine enterotoxemia is a major cause of mortality in veal calves. Predominantly veal calves of beef cattle breeds are affected and losses due to enterotoxemia may account for up to 20% of total mortality. Clostridium perfringens type A is considered to be the causative agent. Recently, alpha toxin and perfringolysin O have been proposed to play an essential role in the development of disease. However, other potential virulence factors also may play a role in the pathogenesis of bovine enterotoxemia. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether strains originating from bovine enterotoxemia cases were superior in in vitro production of virulence factors (alpha toxin, perfringolysin O, mucinase, collagenase) that are potentially involved in enterotoxemia. To approach this, a collection of strains originating from enterotoxemia cases was compared to bovine strains isolated from healthy animals and to strains isolated from other animal species.
Results
Strains originating from bovine enterotoxemia cases produced variable levels of alpha toxin and perfringolysin O that were not significantly different from levels produced by strains isolated from healthy calves and other animal species. All tested strains exhibited similar mucinolytic activity independent of the isolation source. A high variability in collagenase activity between strains could be observed, and no higher collagenase levels were produced in vitro by strains isolated from enterotoxemia cases.
Conclusions
Bovine enterotoxemia strains do not produce higher levels of alpha toxin, perfringolysin O, mucinase and collagenase, as compared to strains derived from healthy calves and other animal species in vitro.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-32
PMCID: PMC3913962  PMID: 24479821
3.  Effect of a DIVA vaccine with and without in-feed use of coated calcium-butyrate on transmission of Salmonella Typhimurium in pigs 
Background
For satisfactory Salmonella control, good biosecurity along the pork production chain is crucial, although additional control measures on-farm need to be considered. This study evaluated the effect of two potential control measures against the spread of Salmonella Typhimurium via a transmission experiment with 56 piglets (3–15 weeks of age): two groups were orally vaccinated with 107 - 108 Colony Forming Units (CFU)/2 mL of a new attenuated Salmonella Typhimurium vaccine ‘Salmoporc-∆rfaJ’ with DIVA capacities (Differentiation between Infected and Vaccinated Animals) (n = 2x16); the feed of one group was additionally supplemented with coated calcium-butyrate salt. Two weeks post vaccination, four pigs per group were orally challenged with 107 CFU/2 mL of a Salmonella Typhimurium strain 112910a. Both groups were compared with a positive (challenged/untreated; n = 16) and negative (unchallenged/untreated; n = 8) control group. Until six weeks post challenge, blood, individual faecal and finally tissue samples were examined. Adjusted transmission ratios ‘Ra’ were estimated, based on the challenge strain isolation from faecal and/or tissue samples.
Results
In both intervention groups, Ra values were lower compared to the positive control group, although these differences were not significant. In the combination group DIVA vaccine + coated butyrate, less non-challenged contact animals excreted Salmonella and less tissue samples were found Salmonella-positive in all pigs, when compared to the positive control group (P < 0.01). Seroconversion was detected in none of the vaccinated animals before challenge, when using a commercial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) ELISA targeting only Salmonella O-antigens, deleted in this vaccine. This was in contrast with an in-house whole-cell ELISA testing for various Salmonella antigens, in which Salmonella-specific antibodies were found pre-challenge in the serum of the vaccinated pigs.
Conclusions
Both interventions showed a limited, non-significant reduction of Salmonella transmission between piglets. They may have applications towards Salmonella control and surveillance. Firstly, the number of Salmonella excreting contact pigs was significantly lower in the group where vaccination was combined with coated calcium-butyrate salt in the feed; secondly, the new vaccine confirmed its DIVA capacity. Therefore, these interventions merit further research with larger sample sizes, to optimize their use for Salmonella programmes.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-243
PMCID: PMC4235050  PMID: 24304918
Salmonella Typhimurium; Pig; DIVA vaccine; Coated calcium-butyrate salt; Transmission
4.  Porcine intestinal epithelial barrier disruption by the Fusarium mycotoxins deoxynivalenol and T-2 toxin promotes transepithelial passage of doxycycline and paromomycin 
Background
The gastrointestinal tract is the first target for the potentially harmful effects of mycotoxins after intake of mycotoxin contaminated food or feed. With deoxynivalenol (DON), T-2 toxin (T-2), fumonisin B1 (FB1) and zearalenone (ZEA) being important Fusarium toxins in the northern hemisphere, this study aimed to investigate in vitro the toxic effect of these mycotoxins on intestinal porcine epithelial cells derived from the jejunum (IPEC-J2 cells). Viability of IPEC-J2 cells as well as the proportion of apoptotic and necrotic IPEC-J2 cells was determined by flow cytometry after 72 h of exposure to the toxins. Correlatively, the integrity of the intestinal epithelial cell monolayer was studied using Transwell® inserts, in which the trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER) and passage of the antibiotics doxycycline and paromomycin were used as endpoints.
Results
We demonstrated that the percentage of Annexin-V-FITC and PI negative (viable) cells, Annexin-V-FITC positive and PI negative (apoptotic) cells and Annexin-V-FITC and PI positive (necrotic) IPEC-J2 cells showed a mycotoxin concentration-dependent relationship with T-2 toxin being the most toxic. Moreover, the ratio between Annexin-V-FITC positive and PI negative cells and Annexin-V-FITC and PI positive cells varied depending on the type of toxin. More Annexin-V-FITC and PI positive cells could be found after treatment with T-2 toxin, while more Annexin-V-FITC positive and PI negative cells were found after exposure to DON. Consistent with the cytotoxicity results, both DON and T-2 decreased TEER and increased cellular permeability to doxycycline and paromomycin in a time- and concentration-dependent manner.
Conclusions
It was concluded that Fusarium mycotoxins may severely disturb the intestinal epithelial barrier and promote passage of antibiotics.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-245
PMCID: PMC3548726  PMID: 23244712
Mycotoxins; Cytotoxicity; Flow cytometry; Permeability; Intestinal cells
5.  Low MRSA prevalence in horses at farm level 
Background
In Europe, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) belonging to the clonal complex (CC) 398 has become an important pathogen in horses, circulating in equine clinics and causing both colonization and infection. Whether equine MRSA is bound to hospitals or can also circulate in the general horse population is currently unknown. This study, therefore, reports the nasal and perianal MRSA screening of 189 horses on 10 farms in a suspected high prevalence region (East- and West-Flanders, Belgium).
Results
Only one horse (0.53%) from one farm (10%) tested positive in the nose. It carried a spa type t011-SCCmecV isolate, resistant to β-lactams and tetracycline, which is typical for livestock-associated MRSA CC398.
Conclusion
In the region tested here, horses on horse farms seem unlikely to substantially contribute to the large animal associated ST398 MRSA reservoir present at intensive animal production units.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-213
PMCID: PMC3536571  PMID: 23134703
Horse; Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA; Methicillin resistance; Horse farm
6.  Antibacterial therapeutics for the treatment of chytrid infection in amphibians: Columbus’s egg? 
Background
The establishment of safe and effective protocols to treat chytridiomycosis in amphibians is urgently required. In this study, the usefulness of antibacterial agents to clear chytridiomycosis from infected amphibians was evaluated.
Results
Florfenicol, sulfamethoxazole, sulfadiazine and the combination of trimethoprim and sulfonamides were active in vitro against cultures of five Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis strains containing sporangia and zoospores, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of 0.5-1.0 μg/ml for florfenicol and 8.0 μg/ml for the sulfonamides. Trimethoprim was not capable of inhibiting growth but, combined with sulfonamides, reduced the time to visible growth inhibition by the sulfonamides. Growth inhibition of B. dendrobatidis was not observed after exposure to clindamycin, doxycycline, enrofloxacin, paromomycin, polymyxin E and tylosin. Cultures of sporangia and zoospores of B. dendrobatidis strains JEL423 and IA042 were killed completely after 14 days of exposure to 100 μg/ml florfenicol or 16 μg/ml trimethoprim combined with 80 μg/ml sulfadiazine. These concentrations were, however, not capable of efficiently killing zoospores within 4 days after exposure as assessed using flow cytometry. Florfenicol concentrations remained stable in a bathing solution during a ten day period. Exposure of Discoglossus scovazzi tadpoles for ten days to 100 μg/ml but not to 10 μg florfenicol /ml water resulted in toxicity. In an in vivo trial, post metamorphic Alytes muletensis, experimentally inoculated with B. dendrobatidis, were treated topically with a solution containing 10 μg/ml of florfenicol during 14 days. Although a significant reduction of the B. dendrobatidis load was obtained, none of the treated animals cleared the infection.
Conclusions
We thus conclude that, despite marked anti B. dendrobatidis activity in vitro, the florfenicol treatment used is not capable of eliminating B. dendrobatidis infections from amphibians.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-175
PMCID: PMC3488559  PMID: 23009707
7.  Vaccination reduces macrophage infiltration in bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue in pigs infected with a highly virulent Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae strain 
Background
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is the causative agent of enzootic pneumonia and is responsible for significant economic losses to the pig industry. To better understand the mode of action of a commercial, adjuvanted, inactivated whole cell vaccine and the influence of diversity on the efficacy of vaccination, we investigated samples from vaccinated and non-vaccinated pigs experimentally infected with either a low (LV) or a highly virulent (HV) M. hyopneumoniae strain. Non-vaccinated and sham-infected control groups were included. Lung tissue samples collected at 4 and 8 weeks post infection (PI) were immunohistochemically tested for the presence of T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes and macrophages in the bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT). The number of M. hyopneumoniae organisms in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was determined using quantitative PCR at 4 and 8 weeks PI. Serum antibodies against M. hyopneumoniae were determined at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks PI.
Results
The immunostaining revealed a lower density of macrophages in the BALT of the vaccinated groups compared to the non-vaccinated groups. The highest number of M. hyopneumoniae organisms in the BAL fluid was measured at 4 weeks PI for the HV strain and at 8 weeks PI for the LV strain. Vaccination reduced the number of organisms non-significantly, though for the HV strain the reduction was clinically more relevant than for the LV strain. At the level of the individual pigs, a higher lung lesion score was associated with more M. hyopneumoniae organisms in the lungs and a higher density of the investigated immune cells in the BALT.
Conclusions
In conclusion, the infiltration of macrophages after infection with M. hyopneumoniae is reduced by vaccination. The M. hyopneumoniae replication in the lungs is also reduced in vaccinated pigs, though the HV strain is inhibited more than the LV strain.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-24
PMCID: PMC3349615  PMID: 22409839
8.  Effect of challenge of pigs previously immunised with inactivated vaccines containing homologous and heterologous Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae strains 
Background
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is the primary cause of enzootic pneumonia in pigs. Although vaccination is an important control tool, the results observed under field conditions are variable. This may be due to antigenic differences between the strains circulating in pig herds and the vaccine strain. This study compared the protective efficacy of four bacterins against challenge infection with a highly virulent field strain of M. hyopneumoniae.
Seventy eight, one-week old piglets were randomly assigned to five treatment groups (A, B, C, D, E), 14 piglets each, and a negative control group (F) consisting of 8 piglets. All pigs were injected at 1 (D7) and 4 weeks of age (D28), with 2 ml of either a placebo or a bacterin based on selected M. hyopneumoniae strains, namely A (F7.2C), B (F20.1L), C (B2V1W20 1A-F), D (J strain), E (placebo; positive control), F (placebo; negative control). At D56, all pigs except those of group F were challenged intratracheally with 7 ml culture medium containing 107 CCU/ml of M. hyopneumoniae strain F7.2C. All pigs were euthanized and necropsied at D84. The severity of coughing and pneumonia lesions were the main parameters. Immunofluorescence (IF) testing, nested PCR testing of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and serology for M. hyopneumoniae were also performed.
Results
The different bacterins only slightly improved clinical symptoms (average 0.38 in vaccinated groups vs. 0.45 in group E) and histopathological lung lesions (average 3.20 in vaccinated groups vs. 3.45 in group E), but did not improve macroscopic lung lesions (score 4.30 vs. 4.03 in group E). None of the vaccines was significantly and/or consistently better or worse than the other ones. All bacterins evoked a serological response in the vaccinated animals. All pigs, except those from group F, were positive with nPCR in BAL fluid at D84.
Conclusion
The bacterins did not induce a clear overall protection against challenge infection, and there were no significant differences in protective efficacy between bacterins containing homologous and heterologous M. hyopneumoniae strains. Further research is necessary to better characterize the antigens involved in protection and to elucidate the protective immunity responses following M. hyopneumoniae vaccination and/or infection.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-2
PMCID: PMC3269371  PMID: 22225838

Results 1-8 (8)