Diversity of Clostridium perfringens toxin-genotypes from dairy farms
Clostridium (C.) perfringens is the causative agent of several diseases in animals and humans, including histotoxic and enteric infections. To gain more insight into the occurrence of its different toxin-genotypes in dairy herds, including those toxin genes previously associated with diseases in cattle or humans, 662 isolates cultivated from feces, rumen content and feed collected from 139 dairy farms were characterized by PCR (detecting cpa, cpb, iap, etx, cpe, and both allelic variants of cpb2). Results Isolates from feces were assigned to type A (cpa positive, n = 442) and D (cpa and etx positive, n = 2). Those from rumen content (n = 207) and feed (n = 13) were all assigned to type A. The consensus and atypical variants of the cpb2 gene were detected in 64 (14.5 %) and 138 (31.22 %) of all isolates from feces, and 30 (14.5 %) and 54 (26.1 %) of all isolates from rumen content, respectively. Conclusion Both allelic variants of cpb2 occurred frequently in animals without signs of acute enteric disease, whereby the atypical variant dominated. Five (0.8 %) of all type A isolates were positive for the cpe gene. Therefore, the present study indicates that dairy cows are no primary source for potentially human pathogenic enterotoxin gene positive strains.