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Longitudinal study of Chlamydia pecorum in a healthy Swiss cattle population


Loehrer, Samuel; Hagenbuch, Fabian; Marti, Hanna; Pesch, Theresa; Hässig, Michael; Borel, Nicole (2023). Longitudinal study of Chlamydia pecorum in a healthy Swiss cattle population. PLoS ONE, 18(12):e0292509.

Abstract

Chlamydia pecorum is a globally endemic livestock pathogen but prevalence data from Switzerland has so far been limited. The present longitudinal study aimed to get an insight into the C. pecorum prevalence in Swiss cattle and investigated infection dynamics. The study population consisted of a bovine herd (n = 308) located on a farm in the north-eastern part of Switzerland. The herd comprised dairy cows, beef cattle and calves all sampled up to five times over a one-year period. At each sampling timepoint, rectal and conjunctival swabs were collected resulting in 782 samples per sampled area (total n = 1564). Chlamydiaceae screening was performed initially, followed by C. pecorum-specific real-time qPCR on all samples. For C. pecorum-positive samples, bacterial loads were determined. In this study, C. pecorum was the only chlamydial species found. Animal prevalences were determined to be 5.2–11.4%, 38.1–61.5% and 55–100% in dairy cows, beef cattle and calves, respectively. In all categories, the number of C. pecorum-positive samples was higher in conjunctival (n = 151) compared to rectal samples (n = 65), however, the average rectal load was higher. At a younger age, the chlamydial prevalence and the mean bacterial loads were significantly higher. Of all sampled bovines, only 9.4% (29/308) were high shedders (number of copies per μl >1,000). Calves, which tested positive multiple times, either failed to eliminate the pathogen between sampling timepoints or were reinfected, whereas dairy cows were mostly only positive at one timepoint. In conclusion, C. pecorum was found in healthy Swiss cattle. Our observations suggested that infection takes place at an early age and immunity might develop over time. Although the gastrointestinal tract is supposed to be the main infection site, C. pecorum was not present in rectal samples from dairy cows.

Abstract

Chlamydia pecorum is a globally endemic livestock pathogen but prevalence data from Switzerland has so far been limited. The present longitudinal study aimed to get an insight into the C. pecorum prevalence in Swiss cattle and investigated infection dynamics. The study population consisted of a bovine herd (n = 308) located on a farm in the north-eastern part of Switzerland. The herd comprised dairy cows, beef cattle and calves all sampled up to five times over a one-year period. At each sampling timepoint, rectal and conjunctival swabs were collected resulting in 782 samples per sampled area (total n = 1564). Chlamydiaceae screening was performed initially, followed by C. pecorum-specific real-time qPCR on all samples. For C. pecorum-positive samples, bacterial loads were determined. In this study, C. pecorum was the only chlamydial species found. Animal prevalences were determined to be 5.2–11.4%, 38.1–61.5% and 55–100% in dairy cows, beef cattle and calves, respectively. In all categories, the number of C. pecorum-positive samples was higher in conjunctival (n = 151) compared to rectal samples (n = 65), however, the average rectal load was higher. At a younger age, the chlamydial prevalence and the mean bacterial loads were significantly higher. Of all sampled bovines, only 9.4% (29/308) were high shedders (number of copies per μl >1,000). Calves, which tested positive multiple times, either failed to eliminate the pathogen between sampling timepoints or were reinfected, whereas dairy cows were mostly only positive at one timepoint. In conclusion, C. pecorum was found in healthy Swiss cattle. Our observations suggested that infection takes place at an early age and immunity might develop over time. Although the gastrointestinal tract is supposed to be the main infection site, C. pecorum was not present in rectal samples from dairy cows.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Institute of Veterinary Pathology
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Farm Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:11 December 2023
Deposited On:22 Dec 2023 08:10
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0292509
PubMed ID:38079424
Project Information:
  • : FunderFondation sur la Croix
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderAgrovet Strickhof Seed Money
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)