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Significance of beta 2-toxigenic clostridium perfringens infections in animals and their predisposing factors--a review.

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Central Medical Service Institute of German Armed Forces Kiel, Division of Veterinary Medicine, Kopperpahler Allee 120, 24119 Kronshagen, Germany.


The novel beta 2-toxin of Clostridium perfringens has recently been described as the cause of enteric diseases in animals. The biological activity of beta 2-toxin is similar to that of the beta1-toxin with a possibly weaker cytotoxic activity. However, the production of beta 2-toxin in vitro is not seen in all beta 2-toxin-gene (cpb2)-positive C. perfringens strains, and to deduce a clinical importance solely from the detection of cpb2 is difficult. Detection of cpb2-positive C. perfringens from various animal species with and without enteric diseases demonstrates the wide distribution of cpb2 in nature, and the presence of cpb2 gene is therefore not considered a risk by itself. Predisposing factors like low trypsin activity in the intestinal tract, antibiotic and/or antiphlogistic treatment or changes in diet can result in the selection of beta 2-toxigenic C. perfringens which may lead to enteritis or enterotoxaemia.

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