Fatal Mannheimia haemolytica (M. haemolytica) infections in cattle, which emerged in the Netherlands between 2004 and 2018, showed two distinct disease presentations: acute fibrinous polyserositis (FPS) in veal calves, and acute fibrinous pleuro-pneumonia (FPP) in adult dairy cattle. To determine whether these presentations were caused by different M. haemolytica genotypes, whole genome sequencing was performed on 96 isolates cultured after necropsy from inflamed sites of veal calves that died of M. haemolytica-associated FPS (n = 49) or with FPP lesions (n = 2), and from dairy cows that died of M. haemolytica-associated FPP (n = 45).
Among the 96 M. haemolytica isolates, 93 were shown to belong to either of two large clusters, with 48/51 calf isolates belonging to one, and 43/45 cow isolates and two calf isolates from cases of FPP to the other. All M. haemolytica isolates from veal calves with FPS were of serotype A2, whereas the isolates from dairy cows and two calves with FPP were predominantly of serotypes A1 and A6. Most serotype A2 isolates from veal calves with FPS (95.6 %) contained multiple antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) against three to five antimicrobial classes (phenicols, sulphonamides, tetracyclines, aminoglycosides or beta-lactams). In contrast, these ARGs were only present in 10.8 % of M. haemolytica A1 and A6 isolates from pneumonic adult cattle and absent in isolates from the two calves with FPP.
These two disease presentations appear to be caused by genetically distinct strains with different antimicrobial resistance gene patterns. While M. haemolytica serotype A2 is generally considered to be a commensal microorganism of cattle, it was clearly associated with fatal FPS in veal calves in the Netherlands. Read the publication of Jasper het Lam in The Veterinary Journal.
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