Characterization of some virulence and antibiotic resistance genes of staphylococcus aureus isolated from cases of bovine mastitis in Nkonkobe Municipality, Eastern Cape Province, RSA

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Fort Hare


Staphylococcus aureus is one of the predominant causative agents of mastitis disease in dairy herds. Mastitis disease has a negative impact in the economic losses in the dairy sector across the globe. The aim of this study is to detect some of the virulence genes in the S. aureus isolated from 400 milk samples of subclinical and clinical mastitis dairy cows in Fort Hare dairy farm and Middle Drift dairy farm in Alice in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. In addition antibiotic resistance pattern and antibiotic resistance genes were investigated. Gram-staining, oxidase test, catalase test and API Staph kit were preliminary biochemical tests used for the identification of S. aureus isolates. The MALDI-TOF-MS was also used for further identification. Polymerase chain reaction was performed of genes encoding antibiotic resistance as well as clumping (clfA), coagulase (coa) gene, toxic shock syndrome (tsst), exfoliative toxin A and B (eta and etb), and the gene segment encoding the immunoglobulin G binding region and X region of protein gene spa. A total of 20 (5%) S. aureus strains obtained from 400 milk samples from the two farms were subjected to 16 antibiotics for antibiotic susceptibility testing. In Middle Drift dairy farm 11 (5.5%) isolates were obtained from 200 samples and 9 (4.5%) isolates were obtained in Fort Hare dairy farm from 200 samples. A large percent of the isolates were resistant to penicillin G (60%), followed by trimethoprim (60%) and tetracycline (60%), trimethoprim-sulfamethaxazole (55%), telithroprim (55%) and doxycycline (45%). Most of the isolates were sensitive to several (50-85%) antibiotics. Of the twenty isolates tested 12 samples contained the penicillin antibiotic resistance gene (blaZ gene), 8 samples contained at least one aminoglycoside-modifying enzyme gene (AME gene); the (aac(6’)/aph(2’’) gene and no amplification occurred for aph(3’)-IIIa and ant(4’)-Ia) genes. In the case of the tetracycline antibiotic resistance gene (tetK and tetM), 2 samples contained tetM and a single sample contained tetK gene. No amplification was observed for the erythromycin antibiotic resistance genes (ermA, ermB, ermC, Mef and msrA). All the samples tested were negative for the expression of toxic syndrome gene (tsst), etb, and Immunoglobulin G binding region. However, amplification of the clumping factor was observed in 7 (35%) isolates of S. aureus, exfoliative toxin (eta) expressed 4(20%) isolates; coagulase gene (coa) yielded six DNA bands of six differences sizes from 16 (80%) isolates. A total of four different bands size were expressed for the spa X region from 12 (60%) isolates. The data obtained in this study suggests that poor hygienic practices and inadequate management practices are responsible for the increase in Staphylococcus aureus isolation. The high resistance of S. aureus to antibiotics and the distribution of virulence genes contribute in bovine mastitis in these farms may cause health problems in the community consuming raw milk purchased from these farms.