The fall and rise of group B Streptococcus in dairy cattle: reintroduction due to human-to-cattle host jumps?

Crestani, C., Forde, T. L. , Lycett, S. J. , Holmes, M. A., Fasth, C., Persson-Waller, K. and Zadoks, R. N. (2021) The fall and rise of group B Streptococcus in dairy cattle: reintroduction due to human-to-cattle host jumps? Microbial Genomics, 7(9), 000648. (doi: 10.1099/Mgen.0.000648) (PMID:34486971) (PMCID:PMC8715428)

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Group B Streptococcus (GBS; Streptococcus agalactiae) is a major neonatal and opportunistic bacterial pathogen of humans and an important cause of mastitis in dairy cattle with significant impacts on food security. Following the introduction of mastitis control programmes in the 1950s, GBS was nearly eradicated from the dairy industry in northern Europe, followed by re-emergence in the 21st century. Here, we sought to explain this re-emergence based on short and long read sequencing of historical (1953–1978; n=44) and contemporary (1997–2012; n=76) bovine GBS isolates. Our data show that a globally distributed bovine-associated lineage of GBS was commonly detected among historical isolates but never among contemporary isolates. By contrast, tetracycline resistance, which is present in all major GBS clones adapted to humans, was commonly and uniquely detected in contemporary bovine isolates. These observations provide evidence for strain replacement and suggest a human origin of newly emerged strains. Three novel GBS plasmids were identified, including two showing >98 % sequence similarity with plasmids from Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis, which co-exist with GBS in the human oropharynx. Our findings support introduction of GBS into the dairy population due to human-to-cattle jumps on multiple occasions and demonstrate that reverse zoonotic transmission can erase successes of animal disease control campaigns.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding information: This work was funded by the University of Glasgow College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Doctoral Training Programme 2017– 2021 (to CC). TF was supported by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Discovery Fellowship (FORDE/ BB/R012075/1). SL was supported by a University of Edinburgh Chancellor’s Fellowship and the BBSRC Institute Strategic Programme Grant: Control of Infectious Diseases BBS/E/D/20002173 to the Roslin Institute. MAH was funded by Medical Research Council awards MR/ P007201/1 and MR/N002660/1.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Zadoks, Professor Ruth and Lycett, Dr Samantha and Forde, Dr Taya and Crestani, Miss Chiara
Authors: Crestani, C., Forde, T. L., Lycett, S. J., Holmes, M. A., Fasth, C., Persson-Waller, K., and Zadoks, R. N.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Microbial Genomics
Publisher:Microbiology Society
Published Online:06 September 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Microbial Genomics 7(9): 000648
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300423Novel molecular approaches for understanding the epidemiology of endemic anthraxTaya FordeBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/R012075/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine