Genotypic Characterization of Streptococcus infantarius subsp coli Isolates from Sea Otters with Infective Endocarditis and/or Septicemia and from Environmental Mussel Samples

University of California, Davis, Veterinary Medicine: Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, 5318 VM3A, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 USA.
Journal of clinical microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.99). 10/2012; 50(12). DOI: 10.1128/JCM.02581-12
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to type 128 Streptococcus infantarius subspecies coli isolates from sea otters and mussels. Six SmaI PFGE groups were detected with one predominant group representing 57% of isolates collected over a wide geographic region. Several sea otter and mussel isolates were highly related suggesting an environmental infection source is possible.

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Available from: Verena Gill, Sep 28, 2015
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    • "Because of a decline in the southwestern stock of northern sea otters in Alaska and slow population recovery of southern sea otters in California, these populations are currently listed as ''threatened'' under the United States Endangered Species Act (US Fish and Wildlife Department 2008; US Geological Survey 2010). Causes of the decline and slow recovery are multifactorial and mediated through complex interactions among sea otter populations and numerous biotic and environmental factors, including infectious diseases (Kreuder et al. 2003, Goldstein et al. 2009, Miller et al. 2010b, Counihan-Edgar et al. 2012). Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that southern sea otters are at high risk for exposure to gastrointestinal protozoal pathogens and opportunistic bacteria in the coastal waters of central California (Miller et al. 2008, Miller et al. 2010a). "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Since 2002, an increased number of northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) from southcentral Alaska have been reported to be dying due to endocarditis and/or septicemia with infection by Streptococcus infantarius subsp. coli. Bartonella spp. DNA was also detected in northern sea otters as part of mortality investigations during this unusual mortality event (UME) in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. To evaluate the extent of exposure to Bartonella spp. in sea otters, sera collected from necropsied and live-captured northern sea otters, as well as necropsied southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) unaffected by the UME, were analyzed using an immunofluorescent antibody assay. Antibodies against Bartonella spp. were detected in sera from 50% of necropsied and 34% of presumed healthy, live-captured northern sea otters and in 16% of necropsied southern sea otters. The majority of sea otters with reactive sera were seropositive for B. washoensis, with antibody titers ranging from 1:64 to 1:256. Bartonella spp. antibodies were especially common in adult northern sea otters, both free-living (49%) and necropsied (62%). Adult stranded northern sea otters that died from infectious causes, such as opportunistic bacterial infections, were 27 times more likely to be Bartonella seropositive than adult stranded northern sea otters that died from noninfectious causes (p<0.001; 95% confidence interval 2.62-269.4). Because Bartonella spp. antibodies were detected in necropsied northern sea otters from southcentral (44%) and southwestern (86%) stocks of Alaska, as well as in necropsied southern sea otters (16%) in southcentral California, we concluded that Bartonella spp. exposure is widely distributed among sea otter populations in the Eastern Pacific, providing context for investigating future disease outbreaks and monitoring of Bartonella infections for sea otter management and conservation.
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    ABSTRACT: Since 2002, vegetative valvular endocarditis (VVE), septicemia and meningoencephalitis have contributed to an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) of northern sea otters in southcentral Alaska. Streptococcal organisms were commonly isolated from vegetative lesions and organs from these sea otters. Bartonella infection has also been associated with bacteremia and VVE in terrestrial mammals, but little is known regarding its pathogenic significance in marine mammals. Our study evaluated whether Streptococcus bovis/equinus (SB/E) and Bartonella infections were associated with UME-related disease characterized by VVE and septicemia in Alaskan sea otter carcasses recovered 2004-2008. These bacteria were also evaluated in southern sea otters in California. Streptococcus bovis/equinus were cultured from 45% (23/51) of northern sea otter heart valves, and biochemical testing and sequencing identified these isolates as Streptococcus infantarius subsp. coli. One-third of sea otter hearts were co-infected with Bartonella spp. Our analysis demonstrated that SB/E was strongly associated with UME-related disease in northern sea otters (P < 0.001). While Bartonella infection was also detected in 45% (23/51) and 10% (3/30) of heart valves of northern and southern sea otters examined, respectively, it was not associated with disease. Phylogenetic analysis of the Bartonella ITS region allowed detection of two Bartonella species, one novel species closely related to Bartonella spp. JM-1, B. washoensis and Candidatus B. volans and another molecularly identical to B. henselae. Our findings help to elucidate the role of pathogens in northern sea otter mortalities during this UME and suggested that Bartonella spp. is common in sea otters from Alaska and California.
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