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  • Author or Editor: Pamela L. Ruegg x
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Objective—To evaluate enterotoxin production, enterotoxin gene distribution, and genetic diversity of Staphylococcus aureus in milk obtained from cows with subclinical mastitis.

Sample—Milk samples obtained from 350 cows (1,354 mammary glands) on 11 Wisconsin dairy farms.

Procedures—Of 252 S aureus isolates obtained from 146 cows, 83 isolates (from 66 cows with subclinical mastitis) were compared genotypically by use of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and via PCR identification of toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1) and classical S aureus enterotoxin genes (sea, seb, sec, sed, and see).

Results—Among the 83 S aureus isolates, ≥ 1 enterotoxin genes were identified in 8 (9.6%). Enterotoxin gene distribution was as follows: TSST-1, 7 isolates (8.4%); sec, 5 isolates (6.0%); and sed, 2 isolates (2.4%). Enterotoxin genes sea, seb, and see were not identified. Twelve pulsotypes and 5 subtypes were identified among the 83 isolates; 5 of the 12 pulsotypes were represented by only 1 isolate. In cows of 1 herd, only a single S aureus pulsotype was detected; in cows on most other farms, a variety of pulsotypes were identified. One pulsotype was recovered from 4 farms (n = 23 cows) and another from 5 other farms (16). Isolates with an enterotoxin gene were represented by 6 pulsotypes.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceS aureus classical enterotoxins and TSST-1 were rarely recovered from milk samples obtained from cows with subclinical mastitis in Wisconsin. Diverse pulsotypes of S aureus were detected within and among farms, indicating that different strains of S aureus cause subclinical mastitis in dairy cows.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research