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J Dairy Sci. 2014 Dec;97(12):7606-13. Epub 2014 Oct 18.

Clinical outcomes and molecular genotyping of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from milk samples of dairy primiparous Mediterranean buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis).

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Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Napoli Federico II, Via Delpino 1, 80137 Napoli, Italy.


Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most important pathogens causing mastitis in dairy cows and in Mediterranean buffaloes. Genotype B (GTB) is contagious in dairy cows and may occur in up to 87% of cows of a dairy herd. It was the aim of this study to evaluate genotypes present, clinical outcomes, and prevalence of Staph. aureus in milk samples of primiparous Mediterranean dairy buffaloes. Two hundred composite milk samples originating from 40 primiparous buffaloes were collected from May to June 2012, at d 10, 30, 60, 90, and 150 d in milk (DIM) to perform somatic cell counts and bacteriological cultures. Daily milk yields were recorded. Before parturition until 40 to 50 DIM, all primiparous animals were housed separated from the pluriparous animals. Milking was performed in the same milking parlor, but the primiparous animals were milked first. After 50 DIM, the primiparous were mixed with the pluriparous animals, including the milking procedure. Individual quarter samples were collected from each animal, and aliquots of 1 mL were mixed and used for molecular identification and genotyping of Staph. aureus. The identification of Staph. aureus was performed verifying the presence of nuc gene by nuc gene PCR. All the nuc-positive isolates were subjected to genotype analysis by means of PCR amplification of the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer region and analyzed by a miniaturized electrophoresis system. Of all 200 composite samples, 41 (20.5%) were positive for Staph. aureus, and no genotype other than GTB was identified. The prevalence of samples positive for Staph. aureus was 0% at 10 DIM and increased to a maximum of 22/40 (55%) at 90 DIM. During the period of interest, 14 buffaloes tested positive for Staph. aureus once, 6 were positive twice, and 5 were positive 3 times, whereas 15 animals were negative at every sampling. At 90 and 150 DIM, 7 (17.5%) and 3 buffaloes (7.5%), respectively, showed clinical mastitis (CM), and only 1 (2.5%) showed CM at both samplings. At 60, 90, and 150 DIM, 1 buffalo was found with subclinical mastitis at each sampling. At 30, 60, 90, and 150 DIM, 2.5 (1/40), 22.5 (9/40), 35 (14/40), and 10% (4/40) were considered affected by intramammary infection, respectively. Buffaloes with CM caused by Staph. aureus had statistically significantly higher mean somatic cell count values (6.06 ± 0.29, Log10 cells/mL ± standard deviation) and statistically significantly lower mean daily milk yields (7.15 ± 1.49, liters/animal per day) than healthy animals (4.69 ± 0.23 and 13.87 ± 2.64, respectively), buffaloes with IMI (4.82 ± 0.23 and 11.16 ± 1.80, respectively), or with subclinical mastitis (5.47 ± 0.10 and 10.33 ± 0.68, respectively). Based on our knowledge, this is the first time that Staph. aureus GTB has been identified in milk samples of dairy Mediterranean buffaloes.

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