MLVA-16 Genotyping of Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis Isolates from Different Animal Species in Egypt: Geographical Relatedness and the Mediterranean Lineage
Brucellosis is a common zoonotic disease in Egypt. However, there are limited data available on the genetic diversity of brucellae circulating in Egypt and other Mediterranean areas. One hundred and nine Brucella (B.) strains were isolated from different animal species in thirteen Egyptian governorates. Multi-locus variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) analysis (MLVA-16) was employed to determine the geographical relatedness and the genetic diversity of a panel of selected Egyptian strains (n = 69), with strains originating from Italy (n = 49), Portugal (n = 52), Greece (n = 63), and Tunisia (n = 4). Egyptian B. melitensis strains clustered into two main clusters containing 21 genotypes. Egyptian B. abortus strains clustered into three main clusters containing nine genotypes. The genotypes were irregularly distributed over time and space in the study area. Egyptian strains of B. melitensis showed MLVA-16 patterns closer to that of Italian strains. Egyptian B. abortus strains isolated from cattle share the same genotype with strains from Portugal and similar to strains from Italy with low genetic diversity. Strains with similar MLVA patterns isolated from different governorates highlight the movement of the pathogen among governorates. Hence, it may also reflect the long endemicity of brucellosis in Egypt with earlier dispersal of types and great local genetic diversity. Open markets may contribute to cross-species transmission and dissemination of the new types nationwide. The presence of West Mediterranean lineages of B. melitensis and relatedness of B. abortus strains from the studied countries is a result of the socio-historical connections among the Mediterranean countries. Transnational eradication of brucellosis in the Mediterranean basin is highly demanded.