Intra-species diversity and epidemiology varies among coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species causing bovine intramammary infections

Veerle Piessens, S De Vliegher, Bert Verbist, G Braem, Annelies Van Nuffel, L De Vuyst, Marc Heyndrickx, Els Van Coillie

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Although many studies report coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) as the predominant cause of subclinical bovine mastitis, their epidemiology is poorly understood. In the current study, the genetic diversity within four CNS species frequently associated with bovine intramammary infections, Staphylococcus haemolyticus, S. simulans, S. chromogenes, and S. epidermidis, was determined. For epidemiological purposes, CNS genotypes recovered from bovine milk collected on six Flemish dairy farms were compared with those from the farm environment, and their distribution within the farms was investigated. Genetic diversity was assessed by two molecular typing techniques, amplification fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. Subtyping revealed the highest genetic heterogeneity among S. haemolyticus isolates. A large variety of genotypes was found among environmental isolates, of which several could be linked with intramammary infection, indicating that the environment could act as a potential source for infection. For S. simulans, various genotypes were found in the environment, but a link with IMI was less obvious. For S. epidermidis and S. chromogenes, genetic heterogeneity was limited and the sporadic isolates from environment displayed largely the same genotypes as those from milk. The higher clonality of the S. epidermidis and S. chromogenes isolates from milk suggests that specific genotypes probably disseminate within herds and are more udder-adapted. Environmental sources and cow-to-cow transmission both seem to be involved in the epidemiology of CNS, although their relative importance might substantially vary between species.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalVeterinary Microbiology
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)62-71
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis
    • Animals
    • Cattle
    • Coagulase
    • Environmental Microbiology
    • Female
    • Genetic Variation
    • Genotype
    • Mastitis, Bovine
    • Milk
    • Phylogeny
    • Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Technique
    • Staphylococcal Infections
    • Staphylococcus


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