Prevalence of Escherichia coli adhesion-related genes in neonatal calf diarrhea in Uruguay
Introduction: Neonatal calf diarrhea (NCD), one of the most important diseases of neonatal dairy and beef calves in Uruguay, has become relevant in association with intensive systems. This disease generates substantial economic losses every year worldwide as a result of increased morbidity and mortality. Escherichia coli, one of the pathogens associated with NCD, can express several fimbrial and afimbrial adhesins. The objective of this study was to assess the presence of clpG, f5, f17A, f17G(II), and f17G(I) genes that encode three important adhesins expressed in diarrheagenic E. coli: F5, F17 and CS31A, isolated from feces of calves in Uruguay.
Methodology: Feces of 86 (70 diarrheic and 16 healthy) calves, from 15 animal facilities in Uruguay, were collected between 2012 and 2013. Biochemical and molecular identification were performed to finally obtain 298 E. coli isolates. Partial amplification of adhesion-related genes was performed by polymerase chain reaction.
Results: The most prevalent gene was f17A (31.2%), followed by f17G(II), clpG, f17G(I) and f5 (25.8%, 17.5%, 3.7% and 0.7%, respectively). All genes were present in diarrheic and healthy animals except f5 and f17G(I); these genes were present only in affected calves, although in low numbers.
Conclusions: This is the first report of the presence of F5, F17, and CS31A genes in E. coli strains from NCD cases in Uruguay. Prevalence values of the genes, except f5, were in accordance with regional findings. It is expected that further characterization of locally transmitted strains will contribute to control a problem of regional and international magnitude.
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