Multilocus sequence typing of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from high-somatic-cell-count cows and the environment of an organic dairy farm in the United Kingdom

J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Sep;43(9):4731-6. doi: 10.1128/JCM.43.9.4731-4736.2005.


An outbreak of Staphylococcus aureus intramammary infections on an organic dairy farm was monitored for 10 months. Environmental and milk samples were collected from a total of 26 cows and a group of 21 purchased heifers about to be introduced into the milking herd. There was variation in the rate of isolation of S. aureus (9.5 to 43.8%) from individual mammary quarters, although no S. aureus isolates were detected in the milk samples collected from the heifers. One hundred ninety-one S. aureus isolates were detected from cow milk samples (n = 182), milking machine clusters (n = 4), farm personnel (n = 4), and the environment (n = 1). Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) had a typeability of 100% when it was applied to the 191 isolates. Among the 191 isolates there was limited strain diversity, with seven sequence types (STs) dominated by two strains with closely related STs that differed at a single locus. Within individual mammary quarters there were naturally occurring dual infections, although this was identified in only 0.4% of milk samples. Different strains were associated with variable persistence within quarters. MLST is clearly a very suitable tool for the differentiation and analysis of S. aureus populations detected on dairy cattle farms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology
  • Cell Count
  • Dairying*
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / microbiology*
  • Mastitis, Bovine / epidemiology
  • Mastitis, Bovine / microbiology*
  • Milk / microbiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / veterinary
  • Staphylococcus aureus / classification*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Bacterial Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ849355
  • GENBANK/AJ849356