Aims: To develop a multiplex PCR for detection of genes encoding the exfoliative toxins ExhA, ExhB, ExhC and ExhD from Staphylococcus hyicus and to estimate the prevalence of exfoliative toxins among Staph. hyicus isolates from Danish pig herds with exudative epidermitis (EE). Methods and Results: A multiplex PCR employing specific primers for each of the genes encoding four different exfoliative toxins was developed and evaluated using a collection of Staph. hyicus with known toxin type and a number of other staphylococcal species. A total of 314 Staph. hyicus isolates from pigs with EE were screened by multiplex PCR and the combined results of the present and previous investigations showed that ExhA, ExhB, ExhC and ExhD was found in 20, 33, 18 and 22%, respectively, of 60 cases of EE investigated. Conclusions: This study has provided a new tool for detection of toxigenic Staph. hyicus and a more comprehensive picture of the prevalence of the Staph. hyicus exfoliative toxins in Danish pig herds. Significance and Impact of the Study: The multiplex PCR can be used in studies on the prevalence of toxigenic Staph. hyicus elucidating the epidemiology of EE in pigs. The multiplex PCR is currently being used for selection of Staph. hyicus isolates for production of autogenous vaccine.
Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2004, Vol 96, Issue 6, p. 1265-1270