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The role of Staphylococcus agnetis and Staphylococcus hyicus in the pathogenesis of buffalo fly skin lesions in cattle

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Naseem, M. N., Turni, C., Gilbert, R. A., Raza, A., Allavena, R., McGowan, M., Constantinoiu, C., Ong, C. T., Tabor, A. E. and James, P. (2022) The role of Staphylococcus agnetis and Staphylococcus hyicus in the pathogenesis of buffalo fly skin lesions in cattle. Veterinary Microbiology, 10 (4). ISSN 0378-1135


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.00873-22


Buffalo flies (Haematobia irritans exigua) are hematophagous ectoparasites of cattle causing production and welfare impacts in northern Australian herds. Skin lesions associated with buffalo fly infestation and Stephanofilaria nematode infection are manifested as focal dermatitis or ulcerated areas, most commonly on the medial canthus of the eye, along the lateral and ventral neck, and on the abdomen of cattle. For closely related horn flies (Haematobia irritans irritans), Staphylococcus aureus has been suggested as a contributing factor in the development of lesions. To investigate the potential role of bacterial infection in the pathogenesis of buffalo fly lesions, swabs were taken from lesions and normal skin, and bacteria were also isolated from surface washings of buffalo flies and surface-sterilized homogenized flies. Bacterial identification was conducted by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight (MALDI-TOF) and strain typing by repetitive sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR) and DNA sequencing to determine species similarity and virulence factors. Of 50 bacterial isolates collected from lesions, 38 were identified as Staphylococcus agnetis and 12 as Staphylococcus hyicus, whereas four isolates from normal skin were S. hyicus and one was Mammaliicoccus sciuri. Of the Staphylococcus isolates isolated from buffalo flies, five were identified as S. agnetis and three as S. hyicus. Fifty percent of the buffalo fly isolates had rep-PCR genotypic patterns identical to those of the lesion isolates. Genome sequencing of 16 S. agnetis and four S. hyicus isolates revealed closely similar virulence factor profiles, with all isolates possessing exfoliative toxin A and C genes. The findings from this study suggest the involvement of S. agnetis and S. hyicus in buffalo fly lesion pathogenesis. This should be taken into account in the development of effective treatment and control strategies for lesions.
IMPORTANCE Skin lesions in cattle associated with feeding by Haematobia fly species are a significant welfare issue in Australia, North and South America, and Europe. The development of these lesions has been attributed to a number of causal factors, but the exact etiology and pathogenesis were unclear. This study characterized Staphylococcus agnetis and Staphylococcus hyicus strains from cattle skin lesions and in vector flies and demonstrated their role in the pathogenesis of these lesions. These findings will aid the development of targeted and more effective treatment and control strategies for lesions associated with fly infestation in cattle.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:Staphylococcus agnetis, Staphylococcus hyicus, Haematobia, buffalo fly lesions, cattle, exfoliative toxin
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary microbiology
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary toxicology
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary parasitology
Live Archive:17 Mar 2022 02:39
Last Modified:10 Apr 2024 04:37

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