Clinical endometritis is an important disease of dairy cattle and results in decreased reproductive performance. This disease is caused by contamination of the uterus with a broad spectrum of microorganisms after calving. In this study, staphylococcal isolates from the uterus of dairy cows with clinical endometritis were tested for their distribution of superantigen (SAg) genes and antimicrobial resistance. Between the 127 staphylococcal isolates collected in this study, 10 species were identified. The predominant strain identified was Staphylococcus aureus (n=53), followed by Staphylococcus saprophyticus (n=38) and Staphylococcus chromogenes (n=22). PCR analysis demonstrated that most isolates (63.0 per cent) harboured at least one SAg gene. The most commonly observed SAg gene and genotype was selj (38.6 per cent) and sec-selj-seln (24.0 per cent), respectively. Most isolates were resistant to penicillin (79.5 per cent), ampicillin (71.7 per cent), erythromycin (56.7 per cent), and tetracycline (52.0 per cent). PCR analysis demonstrated that the antimicrobial resistance determinants ermA, ermB, ermC, tetK, tetM and blaZ were detected in 0 per cent, 44.4 per cent, 51.4 per cent, 68.2 per cent, 13.6 per cent and 86.1 per cent of the erythromycin, tetracycline and β-lactam resistant isolates, respectively. There were 22 (17.3 per cent of all isolates) coagulase-negative staphylococci shown to be methicillin resistant. In the methicillin-resistant isolates, significant resistances to ampicillin, erythromycin and penicillin were observed (P<0.01). The results of this study demonstrate that staphylococci recovered from dairy cows with clinical endometritis contain an extensive and complex prevalence of SAg genes. Significant resistances to antibiotics were also seen, highlighting the need for the rational appliance of antibiotics in veterinary medicine.
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