Prevalence and genetic diversity of Rhodococcus equi in wild boars (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Poland

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Abstract

© 2015 Witkowski et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: Rhodococcus equi is now considered an emerging zoonotic pathogen. Sources and routes of human infection remain unclear but foodborne transmission seems to be the most probable way. Strains of pig or bovine type are most often isolated from human cases and moreover R. equi is present in submaxillary lymph nodes of apparently healthy pigs and wild boars intended for human consumption. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of R. equi in submaxillary lymph nodes in wild boars, roe deer and red deer. Results: Samples were collected from 936 animals and 27 R. equi strains were isolated, from 5.1 % of wild boars (23/452), 0.7 % of red deer (2/272) and 0.9 % of roe deer (2/212). Genetic diversity of all 27 isolates was studied using VspI-PFGE method, resulting in the detection of 25 PFGE patterns and four PFGE clusters. PFGE patterns of the isolates were compared with virulence plasmid types and no concordance was observed. Conclusions: R. equi was present in wild animal tissues and consumption of the game may be a potential source of R. equi infection for humans. To the authors' best knowledge, this is the first epidemiological report of R. equi prevalence in tissues of roe deer and red deer. However, risk associated with wild ruminant consumption seems marginal. Investigation of R. equi transmission between animals and humans based exclusively on types of virulence plasmids seems to be insufficient to identify sources of R. equi infection for people.

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Witkowski, L., Rzewuska, M., Cisek, A. A., Chrobak-Chmiel, D., Kizerwetter-͆wida, M., Czopowicz, M., … Kita, J. (2015). Prevalence and genetic diversity of Rhodococcus equi in wild boars (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Poland. BMC Microbiology, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12866-015-0445-1

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