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Multiplex PCR Assays for Simultaneous Detection of Six Major Serotypes and Two Virulence-Associated Phenotypes of Streptococcus suis in Tonsillar Specimens from Pigs

2005-07-22

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Wisselink HJ, Joosten JJ, Smith HE.

Division of Infectious Diseases and Food Chain Quality, Institute for Animal Science and Health, 8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands. h.j.wisselink@id.wag-ur.nl

Multiplex PCR assays for the detection and identification of various Streptococcus suis strains in tonsillar specimens from pigs were developed and evaluated. In two separate reactions, five distinct DNA targets were amplified. Three targets, based on the S. suis capsular polysaccharide (cps) genes specific for serotypes 1 (and 14), 7, and 9, were amplified in multiplex PCR I. Two other targets, based on the serotype 2- (and 1/2-) specific cps gene and the epf gene, encoding the EF proteins of virulent serotype 2 and highly virulent serotype 1 strains, were amplified in multiplex PCR II. To identify false-negative results, firefly luciferase (luc) DNA and primers based on the luc gene were included in the assay. The multiplex PCR assays were evaluated with tonsillar specimens from pigs infected with S. suis strains. The results obtained with the PCR assays were compared with the results obtained with a bacteriological examination. Most (94%) of the results obtained with multiplex PCR assays were confirmed by the bacteriological examination. The PCR method seems to be more sensitive compared to the bacteriological method, since the remaining 6% of the samples were positive by PCR and negative by bacteriological examination. These results indicate that the PCR method is highly specific for the detection of S. suis strains most frequently involved in clinical disease in infected pig herds. The serotypes found by PCR in tonsillar specimens from diseased pigs were compared with the serotypes of the strains isolated from the affected tissues of the same pigs. The results showed that there is significant association between carriership and clinical illness for S. suis serotype 9 and EF-positive serotype 2 strains and not for serotype 7 and EF-negative serotype 2 (or 1/2) strains.

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