Virulence-associated gene pattern of porcine and human Yersinia enterocolitica biotype 4 isolates.

Schneeberger, Marianne; Brodard, Isabelle; Overesch, Gudrun (2015). Virulence-associated gene pattern of porcine and human Yersinia enterocolitica biotype 4 isolates. International journal of food microbiology, 198, pp. 70-74. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.12.029

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Yersinia enterocolitica 4/O:3 is the most important human pathogenic bioserotype in Europe and the predominant pathogenic bioserotype in slaughter pigs. Although many studies on the virulence of Y. enterocolitica strains have showed a broad spectrum of detectable factors in pigs and humans, an analysis based on a strict comparative approach and serving to verify the virulence capability of porcine Y. enterocolitica as a source for human yersiniosis is lacking. Therefore, in the present study, strains of biotype (BT) 4 isolated from Swiss slaughter pig tonsils and feces and isolates from human clinical cases were compared in terms of their spectrum of virulence-associated genes (yadA, virF, ail, inv, rovA, ymoA, ystA, ystB and myfA). An analysis of the associated antimicrobial susceptibility pattern completed the characterization. All analyzed BT 4 strains showed a nearly similar pattern, comprising the known fundamental virulence-associated genes yadA, virF, ail, inv, rovA, ymoA, ystA and myfA. Only ystB was not detectable among all analyzed isolates. Importantly, neither the source of the isolates (porcine tonsils and feces, humans) nor the serotype (ST) had any influence on the gene pattern. From these findings, it can be concluded that the presence of the full complement of virulence genes necessary for human infection is common among porcine BT 4 strains. Swiss porcine BT 4 strains not only showed antimicrobial susceptibility to chloramphenicol, cefotaxime, ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, colistin, florfenicol, gentamicin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, sulfamethoxazole, streptomycin, tetracycline and trimethoprim but also showed 100% antibiotic resistance to ampicillin. The human BT 4 strains revealed comparable results. However, in addition to 100% antibiotic resistance to ampicillin, 2 strains were resistant to chloramphenicol and nalidixic acid. Additionally, 1 of these strains was resistant to sulfamethoxazole. The results demonstrated that Y. enterocolitica BT 4 isolates from porcine tonsils, as well as from feces, show the same virulence-associated gene pattern and antibiotic resistance properties as human isolates from clinical cases, consistent with the etiological role of porcine BT 4 in human yersiniosis. Thus, cross-contamination of carcasses and organs at slaughter with porcine Y. enterocolitica BT 4 strains, either from tonsils or feces, must be prevented to reduce human yersiniosis.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology

UniBE Contributor:

Schneeberger, Marianne; Brodard, Isabelle and Overesch, Gudrun


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




Elsevier Science




Barbara Gautschi-Steffen

Date Deposited:

20 Apr 2016 09:22

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:55

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Antibiotic resistance; Pig; Swine; Switzerland; Yersiniosis




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