Detection of virulent strains of Streptococcus suis type 2 and highly virulent strains of Streptococcus suis type 1 in tonsillar specimens of pigs by PCR

H.J. Wisselink, F.H. Reek, U. Vecht, N. Stockhofe-Zurwieden, M.A. Smits, H.E. Smith

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    Abstract

    We developed a PCR assay for the rapid and sensitive detection of virulent Streptococcus suis type 2 and highly virulent S. suis type 1 in tonsillar specimens from pigs. The PCR primers were based on the sequence of the gene encoding the EF-protein of virulent S. suis type 2 strains (MRP EF ) and highly virulent S. suis type 1 strains (MRP(s)EF ) and of the EF protein of weakly virulent S. suis type 2 strains (MRP EF). The latter strains give rise to larger PCR products than the virulent strains of S. suis type 1 and 2. A positive control template was included in the assay to identify false negative results. The PCR was evaluated using tonsillar specimens from herds known (or suspected) to be infected and herds without an S. suis history. The results obtained with the PCR assay were compared with the results obtained with a newly developed bacteriological examination. In this bacteriological examination we were able to identify the EF-positive strains directly in the tonsillar specimens. From the 99 tonsils examined, 48 were positive in the PCR and 51 negative. All specimens from which EF-positive S. suis strains were isolated were also positive in the PCR assay. Three samples were positive in the PCR, but negative by bacteriological examination. The results demonstrated that the PCR is a highly specific and sensitive diagnostic tool for the detection of pigs carrying virulent strains of S. suis type 2 and highly virulent strains of type 1. Application of the assay may contribute to the control of S. suis infections.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-157
    JournalVeterinary Microbiology
    Volume67
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1999

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