Staphylococcus aureus genotype B and other genotypes isolated from cow milk in European countries

J Dairy Sci. 2016 Jan;99(1):529-40. doi: 10.3168/jds.2015-9587. Epub 2015 Nov 14.


Staphylococcus aureus is globally one of the most important pathogens causing contagious mastitis in cattle. Previous studies, however, have demonstrated in Swiss cows that Staph. aureus isolated from bovine intramammary infection is genetically heterogeneous, with Staph. aureus genotype B (GTB) and GTC being the most prominent genotypes. In addition, Staph. aureus GTB was found to be contagious, whereas Staph. aureus GTC and all the remaining genotypes were involved in individual cow disease. The aim of this study was to subtype strains of Staph. aureus isolated from bovine mastitic milk and bulk tank milk to obtain a unified view of the presence of bovine staphylococcal subtypes in 12 European countries. A total of 456 strains of Staph. aureus were subjected to different typing methods: ribosomal spacer PCR, detection of enterotoxin genes, and detection of gene polymorphisms (lukE, coa). Major genotypes with their variants were combined into genotypic clusters (CL). This study revealed 5 major CL representing 76% of all strains and comprised CLB, CLC, CLF, CLI, and CLR. The clusters were characterized by the same genetic properties as the Swiss isolates, demonstrating high clonality of bovine Staph. aureus. Interestingly, CLB was situated in central Europe whereas the other CL were widely disseminated. The remaining 24% of the strains comprised 41 genotypes and variants, some of which (GTAM, GTBG) were restricted to certain countries; many others, however, were observed only once.

Keywords: Europe; Staphylococcus aureus; bovine intramammary infection; genotyping; virulence gene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Enterotoxins / genetics
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Mastitis, Bovine / microbiology*
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / veterinary*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification


  • Enterotoxins