Streptococcus agalactiae in elephants - A comparative study with isolates from human and zoo animal and livestock origin.

Citation:
Eisenberg, T., J. Rau, U. Westerhüs, T. Knauf-Witzens, A. Fawzy, K. Schlez, M. Zschöck, E. Prenger-Berninghoff, C. Heydel, R. Sting, et al., "Streptococcus agalactiae in elephants - A comparative study with isolates from human and zoo animal and livestock origin.", Veterinary microbiology, vol. 204, pp. 141-150, 2017 May.

Abstract:

Streptococcus (S.) agalactiae represents a significant pathogen for humans and animals. However, there are only a few elderly reports on S. agalactiae infections in wild and zoo elephants even though this pathogen has been isolated comparatively frequently in these endangered animal species. Consequently, between 2004 and 2015, we collected S. agalactiae isolates from African and Asian elephants (n=23) living in four different zoos in Germany. These isolates were characterised and compared with isolates from other animal species (n=20 isolates) and humans (n=3). We found that the isolates from elephants can be readily identified by classical biochemistry and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Further characterisations for epidemiological issues were achieved using Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy, capsule typing and molecular fingerprinting (PFGE, RAPD PCR). We could demonstrate that our elephant isolate collection contained at least six different lineages that were representative for their source of origin. Despite generally broad antimicrobial susceptibility of S. agalactiae, many showed tetracycline resistance in vitro. S. agalactiae plays an important role in bacterial infections not only in cattle and humans, but also in elephants. Comparative studies were able to differentiate S. agalactiae isolates from elephants into different infectious clusters based on their epidemiological background.

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