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Stable flies are bonafide carriers of mastitis-associated bacteria

posted on 2024-06-11, 07:17 authored by University of Wisconsin-Madison
Hematophagous Stomoxys (stable) fly populations in dairy barns are sustained by a constant availability of cattle hosts and manure, which serve as major reservoirs of both zoonotic and opportunistic bacterial pathogens. However, the composition of the Stomoxys fly microbiota, the mechanisms by which flies acquire their microbiome, and the ability of potentially pathogenic bacteria to colonize and persist in fly hosts remain to be investigated. Here, we longitudinally collected fly and manure samples from two connected dairy facilities. High throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was then used to characterize and compare bacterial communities present on or within flies and in manure collected from the same facility, while culture-dependent methods were used to verify the viability of clinically relevant bacteria. Bacterial alpha diversity was overall higher in manure samples as compared to fly samples, with manure-associated bacterial communities being dominated by members of the Bacteroidales, Eubacteriales, and Oscillospirales. In contrast, flies harbored relatively low-complexity communities dominated by members of the Enterobacterales, Staphylococcales, and Lactobacillales. Clinically relevant bacterial strains, including Escherichia spp. and other taxa associated with mastitic cows housed in the same facilities, were detected in paired fly and manure samples but exhibited dramatically elevated abundances in fly samples as compared to manure samples. Viable colonies of Escherichia, Klebsiella, and Staphylococcus spp. were also readily isolated from fly samples, confirming that flies harbor culturable mastitis associated bacteria. This study identifies biting flies as bonafide carriers of opportunistically pathogenic bacterial taxa on dairy farms and other agricultural settings.


U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2023-67011-40337

University of Wisconsin Dairy Innovation Hub, Internal


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National Center for Biotechnology Information

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  • Non-geospatial

ISO Topic Category

  • biota

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

sequence analysis

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  • No

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  • Public

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It is recommended to cite the accession numbers that are assigned to data submissions, e.g. the GenBank, WGS or SRA accession numbers. If individual BioProjects need to be referenced, state that "The data have been deposited with links to BioProject accession number PRJNA1032128 in the NCBI BioProject database ("

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