1887

Abstract

The spore-forming bacterium is the causative agent of American foulbrood (AFB), a devastating disease of honeybees (). In the present study, we used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to investigate an extensive outbreak of AFB in northwestern Slovenia in 2019. A total of 59 . isolates underwent WGS, of which 40 originated from a single beekeeping operation, to assess the diversity of within the beekeeping operation, apiary and colony. By applying a case-specific single-linkage threshold of 34 allele differences (AD), whole-genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST) identified two outbreak clusters represented by ERIC II-ST11 clones. All isolates from a single beekeeping operation fell within cluster 1 and the median pairwise AD between them was 10 (range=1–22). The median pairwise AD for apiaries of the same beekeeping operation ranged from 8 to 11 (min.=1, max.=22). For colonies of the same apiary and honey samples from these colonies, the median pairwise AD ranged from 8 to 14 (min.=1, max.=20). The maximum within-cluster distance was 33 pairwise AD for cluster 1 and 44 for cluster 2 isolates. The minimum distance between the outbreak-related and non-related isolates was 37 AD, confirming the importance of associated epidemiological data for delineating outbreak clusters. The observed transmission events could be explained by the activities of honeybees and beekeepers. The present study provides insight into the genetic diversity of at different levels and thus provides information for future AFB surveillance.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (Award V4-1804)
    • Principle Award Recipient: DarjaKušar
  • Slovenian Research Agency (Award V4-1804)
    • Principle Award Recipient: DarjaKušar
  • Slovenian Research Agency (Award P4-0092)
    • Principle Award Recipient: NotApplicable
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License.
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2021-12-03
2022-01-27
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