A total of 81 isolates from healthy and diseased dairy and beef cattle originating from various geographical locations was examined by rRNA gene restriction site polymorphism analysis (ribotyping), restriction endonuclease analysis (REA), SDS-PAGE analysis of whole-cell (WCP) and outer-membrane (OMP) proteins, and capsule and somatic serotyping. Bacterial strains were isolated from nose, lung and in one case testicle, of Holstein and cross-bred beef cattle. The isolates represented for the most part serogroup A3 (88%). Ribotyping was performed on DNA digested with II, electrophoresed and then hybridised with P-labelled 16S–23S rRNA from . Six ribotypes (R1–R6) and 10 REA types were found among the 81 isolates with similar discrimination index (DI) of 0.60. Protein profiles revealed reproducibility and high levels of polymorphisms among lung isolates. Isolates were compared according to their geographical habitat, their isolation from dairy or from beef cattle and from nasal cavities or lungs. No correlation was apparent between geographical locations and ribotypes. Overall, isolates obtained from dairy cattle were predominantly R1, whereas those obtained from beef cattle were equally distributed between R1 and R2. R1 was more representative of lung isolates. For some strains, particularly the single isolate ribotypes, good correlation was achieved between WCP analysis, REA types and ribotypes. For others, REA to some extent and WCP profiles were able to discriminate among isolates within ribotypes. The data suggest that a combination of ribotyping, REA and WCP analysis is useful for investigating the epidemiology of bovine serogroup A.


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