Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Reoccurring Bovine Anthrax in Germany on the Same Pasture after 12 Years

Version 1 : Received: 22 November 2021 / Approved: 23 November 2021 / Online: 23 November 2021 (14:44:33 CET)

How to cite: Braun, P.; Beyer, W.; Hanczaruk, M.; Riehm, J.; Antwerpen, M.; Otterbein, C.; Oesterheld, J.; Grass, G. Reoccurring Bovine Anthrax in Germany on the Same Pasture after 12 Years. Preprints 2021, 2021110426 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0426.v1). Braun, P.; Beyer, W.; Hanczaruk, M.; Riehm, J.; Antwerpen, M.; Otterbein, C.; Oesterheld, J.; Grass, G. Reoccurring Bovine Anthrax in Germany on the Same Pasture after 12 Years. Preprints 2021, 2021110426 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0426.v1).

Abstract

The zoonotic disease anthrax caused by the endospore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis is very rare in Germany. In the state of Bavaria, the last case occurred in July of 2009 resulting in four dead cows. In August of 2021, the disease reemerged after heavy rains, killing one gestating cow. Notably, both outbreaks affected the same pasture, suggesting a close epidemiological connection. B. anthracis could be grown from blood culture and the presence of both virulence plasmids (pXO1 and pXO2) were confirmed by PCR. Also, recently developed diagnostic tools enabled rapid detection of B. anthracis cells and nucleic acids directly in clinical samples. The complete genome of the strain isolated from blood, designated BF-5, was DNA-sequenced and phylogenetically grouped within the B.Br.CNEVA clade that is typical for European B. anthracis strains. The genome was almost identical to BF-1, the isolate of 2009, separated only by three single nucleotide polymorphisms on the chromosome, one on plasmid pXO2 and three indel-regions. Further, B. anthracis DNA was detected by PCR from soil-samples taken from spots, where the cow had fallen onto the pasture. New tools based on phage receptor binding proteins enabled the microscopic detection and isolation of B. anthracis directly from soil-samples. These environmental isolates were genotyped and found to be SNP-identical to BF-1. Therefore, it seems that the BF-5 genotype is currently the prevalent one at the affected premises. The contaminated area was subsequently disinfected with formaldehyde.

Keywords

Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; outbreak; phylogenetics; detection assay

Subject

LIFE SCIENCES, Microbiology

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