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Vet Microbiol. 2004 Nov 15;103(3-4):241-7.

Genotypic and phenotypic screening of high and low virulence Staphylococcus aureus isolates from rabbits for biofilm formation and MSCRAMMs.

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Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Poultry Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.


At rabbit flock level, two types of Staphylococcus aureus infections can be distinguished. In the first type, caused by low virulence strains, the infection remains limited to a small number of animals. The second type of infection is caused by the high virulence strains, which spread throughout the rabbitry. The pathogenetic capacity of a particular S. aureus strain is attributed to a combination of extracellular factors and invasive properties such as adherence and biofilm formation. Twenty eight high virulence and 34 low virulence S. aureus isolates recovered from rabbits between 1998 and 2003 were used to study slime production on Congo red Agar (CRA) and prevalence of bap, icaA and icaD associated with biofilm formation. Furthermore these strains were screened for the presence of bbp, clfA, clfB, cna, ebpS, eno, fnbA, fnbB and fib encoding microbial surface components recognizing adhesive matrix molecules (MSCRAMMs). The presence of icaA and icaD was not correlated with slime production on CRA. Bap was absent in all strains. All rabbit S. aureus strains harboured clfA and clfB. The prevalences of ebpS, eno, fnbA and fib did not reveal striking differences between high and low virulence strains. FnbB prevalence in high virulence isolates was lower than in low virulence isolates and cna was absent in high virulence strains. It was remarkable that only high virulence strains were positive for bbp. Further research is necessary to elucidate the significance of bbp in the pathogenesis of high virulence strains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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