Lameness in broiler chickens is a significant animal welfare and financial issue. Lameness can be enhanced by rearing young broilers on wire flooring. We have identified Staphylococcus agnetis as significantly involved in bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO) in proximal tibia and femorae, leading to lameness in broiler chickens in the wire floor system. Administration of S. agnetis in water induces lameness. Previously reported in some cases of cattle mastitis, this is the first report of this poorly described pathogen in chickens. We used long and short read next generation sequencing to assemble single finished contigs for the genome and a large plasmid from the chicken pathogen. Comparison of the S. agnetis genome to those of other pathogenic Staphylococci shows that S.agnetis contains a distinct repertoire of virulence determinants. Additionally, the S. agnetis genome has several regions that differ substantially from the genomes of other pathogenic Staphylococci. Comparison of our finished genome to a recent draft genome for a cattle mastitis isolate suggests that future investigations focus on the evolutionary epidemiology of this emerging pathogen of domestic animals.
Journal: PloS one