A potential novel Brucella species isolated from mandibular lymph nodes of red foxes in Austria

The wild red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a known indicator species for natural foci of brucellosis. Here, we describe phenotypic and molecular characteristics of two atypical Brucella strains isolated from two foxes hunted 2008 in Eastern Austria. Both strains agglutinated with monospecific anti-Brucella A serum and were positive in ELISA with monoclonal antibodies directed against various Brucella lipopolysaccharide epitopes. However, negative nitrate reductase- and negative oxidase-reaction were atypical traits. Affiliation to the genus Brucella was confirmed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and by detection of the Brucella specific insertion element IS. 711 and gene bcsp31 using real-time PCR. Both fox strains showed identical IS. 711 Southern blot profiles but were distinct from known brucellae. The number of IS. 711 copies detected was as high as found in B. ovis or marine mammal Brucella strains. Molecular analyses of the recA and omp2a/b genes suggest that both strains possibly represent a novel Brucella species.



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