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Prevalence, virulence characterization, and genetic relatedness of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from chicken retail points and poultry slaughterhouses in Turkey
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Listeria monocytogenes is one of the most important foodborne pathogens and is a causal agent of listeriosis in humans and animals. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, serogroups, antibiotic susceptibility, virulence factor genes, and genetic relatedness of L. monocytogenes strains isolated from 500 poultry samples in Turkey. The isolation sources of 103 L. monocytogenes strains were retail markets (n = 100) and slaughterhouses (n = 3). L. monocytogenes strains were identified as serogroups 1/2a-3a (75.7%, lineage I), 1/2c-3c (14.56%, lineage I), 1/2b-3b-7 (5.82%, lineage II), 4a-4c (2.91%, lineage III), and 4b-4d-4e (0.97%, lineage III). Most of the L. monocytogenes strains (93.2%) were susceptible to the antibiotics tested. PCR analysis indicated that the majority of the strains (95% to 100%) contained most of the virulence genes (hylA, plcA, plcB, prfA, mpl, actA, dltA, fri, flaA inlA, inlC, and inlJ). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) demonstrated that there were 18 pulsotypes grouped at a similarity of >90% among the strains. These results indicate that it is necessary to prevent the presence of L. monocytogenes in the poultry-processing environments to help prevent outbreaks of listeriosis and protect public health.