Feline sporotrichosis caused by the Sporothrix schenckii complex is a global subcutaneous mycosis, having higher prevalence in Latin America and Malaysia. However, its etiological agents have not been elucidated in Thailand, a neighboring country of Malaysia, where the cases are increasing. This study identified 38 feline isolates of S. schenckii from Southern Thailand, collected between 2018 and 2021, using phenotypic characterization and molecular identification using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-sequencing of partial calmodulin (CAL) and ß-tubulin (Bt2) genes. Phenotypic characteristics proved that the isolates were S. schenckii sensu lato, with low thermotolerance. Based on partial CAL and Bt2-PCR sequencing, all isolates were identified as S. schenckii sensu stricto. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the isolates were clustered with S. schenckii sensu stricto isolated from the cats in Malaysia. A low degree of genetic diversity was observed among the Thai feline isolates. The antifungal susceptibility of these isolates to antifungal agents, including itraconazole (ITC), ketoconazole (KTC), fluconazole (FLC), and amphotericin B (AMB), was investigated according to the M27-A3 protocol of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. Results showed low ITC, KTC, and AMB activities against S. schenckii sensu stricto isolates, with high minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) ranges of 1-8, 1-8, and 2-16 μg/ml, respectively, whereas FLC exhibited MICs of 64 and > 64 μg/ml. This study indicated that S. schenckii sensu stricto is the causative agent responsible for feline sporotrichosis in Southern Thailand. Their phenotypic characteristics and in vitro antifungal susceptibility profiles will help to improve our understanding of this mycosis in Thailand.
Keywords: Sporothrix schenckii; Thailand; calmodulin gene; cat; ß-tubulin gene.
Sporothrix schenckii sensu stricto is a causative agent of feline sporotrichosis in Southern Thailand identified by PCR-sequencing of calmodulin and ß-tubulin genes. Phenotypic tests are not recommended for species identification. All isolates showed low susceptibility to commonly used antifungals.
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The International Society for Human and Animal Mycology.