Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus ST3320 clone causing fatal respiratory infection in rabbits


  • Jinxiang Wang Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • S. Sun Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • Y. Chen Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • D. Chen Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • L. Sang Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • X. Xie Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences



Staphylococcus aureus, rabbit, fatal respiratory infection, virulence gene, multi-locus sequencing typing


Staphylococcus aureus is a well-known pathogen that infects humans and animals. However, information on the fatal respiratory infection in rabbits caused by S. aureus is still limited. In the present study, a S. aureus isolate designated ND01 was recovered from lung samples of rabbits that died of fatal respiratory infection, and the ND01 was characterised by intranasal infection of rabbits, multi-locus sequencing typing, screening virulence genes and testing antimicrobial susceptibility. Clinical signs of matted forepaws and pathological lesions of haemorrhagic tracheitis and necrotising haemorrhagic pneumonia were observed in the ND01 infected rabbits, which were identical to those of naturally infected ones. The sequence type of the ND01 was defined as ST3320 and the ND01 was further grouped into the clonal complex 398. Notably, the ND01 was pvl-positive S. aureus and carried the human-associated scn gene. Moreover, the ND01 was methicillin-susceptible S. aureus and was susceptible to 6 of 10 tested antibiotics. This study described the characteristics of the ND01 causing fatal respiratory infection in rabbits. The results are helpful to further the understanding of the pathogenicity of S. aureus ST3320 clone in rabbits. The results also highlighted that operators must be on the alert for the colonisation of pvl-positive S. aureus in rabbits and potential transmission events between rabbits and humans.


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Author Biographies

Jinxiang Wang, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine

S. Sun, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine

Y. Chen, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine

D. Chen, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine

L. Sang, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine

X. Xie, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine


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