Dichelobacter nodosus is the principal cause of ovine footrot and strain virulence is an important factor in disease severity. Therefore, detection and virulence determination of D. nodosus is important for proper diagnosis of the disease. Today this is possible by real-time PCR analysis. Analysis of large numbers of samples is costly and laborious; therefore, pooling of individual samples is common in surveillance programs. However, pooling can reduce the sensitivity of the method. The aim of this study was to develop a pooling method for real-time PCR analysis that would allow sensitive detection and simultaneous virulence determination of D. nodosus. A total of 225 sheep from 17 flocks were sampled using ESwabs within the Swedish Footrot Control Program in 2014. Samples were first analysed individually and then in pools of five by real-time PCR assays targeting the 16S rRNA and aprV2/B2 genes of D. nodosus. Each pool consisted of four negative and one positive D. nodosus samples with varying amounts of the bacterium. In the individual analysis, 61 (27.1%) samples were positive in the 16S rRNA and the aprV2/B2 PCR assays and 164 (72.9%) samples were negative. All samples positive in the aprV2/B2 PCR-assay were of aprB2 variant. The pooled analysis showed that all 41 pools were also positive for D. nodosus 16S rRNA and the aprB2 variant. The diagnostic sensitivity for pooled and individual samples was therefore similar. Our method includes concentration of the bacteria before DNA-extraction. This may account for the maintenance of diagnostic sensitivity. Diagnostic sensitivity in the real-time PCR assays of the pooled samples were comparable to the sensitivity obtained for individually analysed samples. Even sub-clinical infections were able to be detected in the pooled PCR samples which is important for control of the disease. This method may therefore be implemented in footrot control programs where it can replace analysis of individual samples.
Veterinary Research Communications – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 25, 2017
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