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The calicivirus agent for rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) escaped from an island quarantine station to the Australian mainland in October 1995. Within 2 wk it was detected at an established field study site where wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) were being monitored in the Flinders Ranges National Park (South Australia, Australia). During November 1995, RHD reduced the rabbit numbers on the site by 95%. Approximately 3% of the population survived challenge by RHD and developed antibodies. Most of the antibody-positive survivors were 3- to 7-wk-old when challenged. Many rabbits died underground, but counts of rabbit carcasses found on the surface indicated that approximately 1 million rabbits had died above ground in the National Park, and that >30 million rabbits may have died in adjacent areas during the November epidemic.
Following nearly 10 yr of extensive laboratory evaluation, a vaccinia-rabies glycoprotein (V-RG) vaccine was the first recombinant virus to undergo limited North American field release on 20 August 1990. The free-ranging raccoon population on Parramore Island (Virginia, USA) was exposed to a high density (10 baits/ha) of vaccine-laden baits distributed on a 300 ha vaccination area. An annual total of 887 raccoons were live-trapped for sedation, physical examination and blood collection for rabies antibody determination; there was no evidence of adverse effects or lesions due to the vaccine. Age and sex distributions, mean body weights, and live-capture histories of raccoons from the vaccination and non-baited control areas were compared. There were no statistically significant differences in survivorship between the baited and non-baited areas, nor between rabies antibody-positive and antibody-negative raccoons from the vaccination area. There was no trend in field mortality that suggested an association with either tetracycline or sulfadimethoxine, used as biomakers, or with vaccine contact determined by antibody status. No gross or histopathologic lesions due to the vaccine were demonstrated among a subsample of live-trapped raccoons collected for gross necropsy, biomarker analysis, histopathologic examination, and V-RG virus isolation attempts. Recovery of V-RG virus was limited to the tonsils of two biomarker-positive, clinically healthy raccoons collected from the vaccination area for postmortem examination on days 2 and 4 following bait distribution. These data reinforce the extensive body of safety data on the V-RG virus and extend it to include field evaluation where vaccine is offered free-choice in abundance, in baits designed to attract free-ranging raccoons, in a relatively simple ecosystem.
Two hundred and twenty one blood samples representing eight different rodent species and the common shrew (Sorex araneus), collected in Norway between 1993 and 1995, were examined for anti-orthopoxvirus antibodies by a competition enzyme linked imunnosorbent assay (ELISA) and, when possible, an indirect immunofluorescence assay. The serological results indicated that the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolns), woodmouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) and Norway lemming (Lemmus lemmus) may be reservoir species for orthopoxviruses in Norway, with antibody prevalences of 17 (12/69), 30 (24/81) and 56% (19/34), respectively. Orthopoxvirus infection in lemmings has not been reported previously. On some other small rodent species such as field voles (Microtus agrestis), common rats (Rattus norvegicus), and common shrews, seropositive individuals were detected. However, the total number of tested animals was low, and the role of these species in the epidemiology of orthopoxvirus infections remains unclear. Attempts to isolate orthopoxviruses from these small mammals failed, although orthopoxvirus specific DNA sequences were detected previously in the same animals by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The serological results were compared with and discussed in the context of the occurrence of orthopoxvirus-specific DNA sequences, and it is concluded that orthopoxviruses are widely distributed among wildlife in Norway.
Sera collected from European wild boar (Sus scrofa) shot in Eastern Germany between January 1991 and December 1994 were tested for antibodies to pseudorabies virus (PRV). Of 3,143 sera tested, 281 (8.9%) and 13 (0.4%) were positive and suspect in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. The specificity of the reactions was confirmed by detection of neutralizing antibodies in 220 sera (74.8%) and by immunoblotting. Analysis of host age and sex of the animals, temporal and spatial factors showed significantly higher seroprevalences in older animals than in younger individuals, but no differences between males and females. Pseudorabies virus infections have been endemic in this wild boar population for several years and the extreme eastern part of the study area had significantly higher seroprevalences (≤22%) than other areas. In the area covered by this study, pseudorabies virus was eradicated in the domestic animal populations in 1985. Thus, the infections in the wild boar population appear to be endemic and persist completely separately and without affecting the domestic pig population.
Prevalence of antibodies against canine parvovirus (CPV), canine distemper virus (CDV), and canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV) were determined among 152 coyotes (Canis latrans) at the Naval Petroleum Reserves (NPRC; California, USA) from 1985 to 1990. Overall prevalence of antibodies to CPV, CDV, and CAV was 66%, 37%, and 68%, respectively Prevalence of CPV and CDV varied significantly among years. Antibody prevalence did not differ between sexes for any disease, but did vary significantly among age classes and was lowest for pups (<1-yr-old). Among pups, antibody prevalence increased with age for all three diseases. Coyotes are a potential source of viral exposure for endangered San Joaquin kit foxes (Vulpes macrotis mutica), but variation in coyote abundance did not appear to influence antibody prevalence among kit foxes.
In the winter of 1993–94, house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) with severe conjunctivitis (later shown to be caused by Mycoplasma gallisepticum) were first observed in suburban Washington D.C. (USA) and adjacent states. Using a large network of volunteer observers in eastern North America, we were able to track the monthly prevalence of the disease between November 1994 and March 1997. Using the information on 24,864 monthly data forms, we describe the very rapid spread of the conjunctivitis epidemic through the eastern house finch population. The epidemic first expanded mainly north, probably carried along by house finches on their return migration, then mainly toward the southeast, and later west. By March 1997, conjunctivitis had been reported from most of the eastern range of the house finch. The prevalence of the disease seemed to fluctuate seasonally with increases in the fall, probably as a result of dispersing juveniles. House finch numbers decreased throughout winter in areas with cold winters and high conjunctivitis prevalence, suggesting significant mortality associated with the disease.
Observations from a citizen-based survey were used to identify potential risk factors associated with mycoplasmal conjunctivitis (Mycoplasma gallisepticum) in eastern house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus). Between November 1994 and October 1996, 778 volunteers provided 7,224 monthly observations at residential bird feeding sites across an eight state region in the eastern USA. Information collected by questionnaires included health status of house finches and four sympatric passerine species, types and number of bird feeders maintained, neighborhood housing locale and altitude of the observation site. Bivariate analyses revealed that house finches were 14 to 72 times as likely to be observed with conjunctivitis than the sympatric species studied. Year of the study, season, and the presence of platform, hopper, and tube type feeders were significantly associated with conjunctivitis in house finches. Multivariate analysis using a logistic regression model suggests that increased risk of conjunctivitis in house finches was associated with the second year of the study (the third year of the outbreak), the cooler non-breeding periods from September through March, and the presence of tube style feeders. In addition, the presence of raised platform type feeders may have been protective against conjunctivitis in house finches. Prevention of spread of this disease may include modifying bird feeding activities based on season and type of feeder.
Naturally-occurring mycoplasmal conjunctivitis is described among 104 wild-caught, and initially seronegative, house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) maintained in captivity for 12 wk during November 1995 through January 1996. Finches housed in three pens were monitored for clinical signs, and ≥10 birds were euthanatized for necropsy and mycoplasma testing every 2 wk. Within 2 to 4 wk following initial detection of lesions, >50% of the birds in each of three pens developed a debilitating disease characterized by mild to severe ocular swelling, conjunctivitis, and ocular and nasal discharge. Microscopic lesions in affected finches consisted of mild to severe lymphoplasmacytic inflammation with epithelial and lymphoid hyperplasia in conjunctivae, nasal turbinates, and trachea. Mycoplasma gallisepticum infection was confirmed by culture or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in all birds with conjunctival lesions and in 43% of birds without lesions. An arbitrary primer PCR was used to confirm M. gallisepticum isolates as identical to a field strain previously associated with house finch conjunctivitis. Most birds (89%) with conjunctivitis developed a concurrent antibody response detectable by serum plate agglutination (SPA) within 2 wk of lesion development. Hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests were less sensitive than the SPA test. The clinical severity of this disease and high proportion of affected birds suggests that M. gallisepticum may have a negative impact on free-flying house finch populations.
Endothelial cell cultures were established from several wild African mammalian species. Long-term cultures were established from three ruminants, sable antelope (Hippotragus niger), buffalo (Syncerus caffer), and eland (Tragelaphus oryx), and from an omnivore, the bush-pig (Potamochoerus porcus). Cowdria ruminantium was isolated from plasma of clinically affected animals in these four cell lines and in bovine endothelial cells used routinely for C. ruminantium propagation. Nineteen different strains of C. ruminantium from Africa and the Caribbean region were grown and maintained in these cell lines and their growth was comparable with growth in the bovine endothelial cells. The role of sable antelope, eland, and bushpigs in the epidemiology of heartwater is unknown. However, these results extend the number of cell lines that can be used to isolate and grow C. ruminantium.
Embryos and neonatal offspring of wild-captured cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) were tested for the presence of Bartonella spp. Isolates of Bartonella spp. were obtained from 18 of 31 embryos and 7 of 19 neonates from bacteremic dams of the two species; no isolates were obtained from material from non-bacteremic dams. Sequence analysis demonstrated that the isolates from embryos and neonates matched the phylogenetic group of Bartonella spp. isolates obtained from the mother. No antibodies to homologous Bartonella spp. antigens were detected in maternal and neonatal blood or embryonic tissue. These findings suggest the possibility of vertical transmission of Bartonella spp. among natural rodent hosts.
Serological evidence of infection with Coxiella burnetii was found in 41 (2%) of 1,951 domestic birds and in 167 (19%) of 863 wild birds from 17 and 5 prefectures in Japan, respectively, by microagglutination (MA) test. The bacteriological evidence of the infection was found in 17 (41%) of 41 domestic birds and 37 (22%) of 167 wild birds by the nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In addition, C. burnetii was isolated from five each of serum, spleen and fecal specimens from five jungle crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) (whose sera were positive by both the MA test and PCR) by inoculating laboratory mice. Domestic quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) (3%), domestic muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata) (3%), domestic chickens (2%), domestic mallards (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus) (2%), carrion crows (Corvus corone) (37%), jungle crows (35%), and wild rock doves (Columba livia) (6%) showed serologic evidence of experience with C. burnetii. There was a tendency for a high prevalence among birds living and/or feeding in close proximity to infected livestock. This suggests that these birds are one of the less important links in maintaining the whole cycle of C. burnetii infection.
Six juvenile male, one adult male, and three adult female African lions (Panthera leo) from Etosha National Park, Republic of Namibia were presented for necropsy. Two of four adults and one of six juveniles had moderate numbers of gastric spiral bacteria. Additionally, four of four adults had sarcocysts. All juveniles had enteric Sarcocystis sp. oocysts, but no sarcocysts. The gastric spiral bacteria were located extracellularly in fundic and pyloric glands, and also apparently intracellularly within parietal cells in the fundic region. The organisms were 4 to 8 μm long, 0.63 μm wide, with a periodicity of 0.60 μm. The bacteria had blunted ends with multiple flagella. No periplasmic fibrils were observed. The histologic and ultrastructural characteristics of the bacteria were considered most consistent with species in the genus Helicobacter or incompletely identified Helicobacter-like organisms. Gastric inflammation did not differ significantly between infected and uninfected individuals. The bacteria may be commensals, or an opportunistic pathogen. The sarcocysts were observed in hindlimb skeletal muscle of four individuals, with one individual also containing a single sarcocyst within glossal musculature. All observed cysts were mature, and were contained within individual myocytes. The cyst wall consisted of a 44 to 66 nm, granular, electron dense parasitophorous membrane with subjacent, 0.8 to 1.3 μm thick, granular and fibrillar ground substance which also extended into the cyst interior as thin septa. The membrane was folded and lined irregularly spaced, 0.8 to 1.3 μm tall villi centrally containing ground substance. The membrane was continuous in the villar projections, but divided into discrete aggregations of the electron dense material between the villi. Bradyzoites within the interior of the cyst were 3 by 12 μm. The sarcocysts were determined to be Sarcocystis felis based on the characteristic ultrastructural appearance of the cyst wall.
The efficacy of a multivalent Pasteurella haemolytica vaccine (Al, A2, T10) in reducing morbidity and mortality associated with pneumonic pasteurellosis in bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) was examined. Fifteen captive bighorns were divided equally into three treatment groups based on vaccination status: control (no vaccination), one dose 10 days prior to challenge, or one or two doses 57 wk prior to challenge. At challenge, each bighorn received about 6.2 × 107 colony forming units of P. haemolytica (biotype T, serotype 10, biogroup 4−CDS, ribotype ECO; “Alamosa Canyon” strain) suspension sprayed into the proximal trachea. Vaccination reduced (P = 0.1) mortality in bighorns vaccinated 10 days prior to challenge as compared to controls. Although mortality rates in bighorns vaccinated 57 wk prior to challenge did not differ from controls (P = 0.26), a trend in reduced mortality was apparent. Ranked cumulative postmortem scores based on observed gross lesions and bacteriology did not differ (P ≥ 0.14) between vaccinated animals and control animals. Neutralizing antibody titers to P haemolytica leukotoxin were elevated (P = 0.003) at challenge in bighorns vaccinated 10 days before challenge, and neutralizing titers in bighorns from both vaccinated groups were elevated at death ≤7 days after challenge (P ≤ 0.004). In contrast, agglutinating antibody titers to P haemolytica serotype Al or T10 surface antigens did not differ between vaccinated and unvaccinated bighorns (P ≥ 0.19). Based on these data, we believe that this experimental P. haemolytica vaccine is safe and can stimulate protective immunity from pneumonic pasteurellosis in bighorn sheep. Further evaluation of this vaccine as a tool in preventing and managing pasteurellosis in wild bighorn sheep appears warranted.
Meningeal worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) is a neurotropic nematode of ungulates in eastern North America. Lack of an effective diagnostic test increases the concern of translocating potentially infected ungulates into western North America, where P tenuis does not occur naturally. In an attempt to identify serodiagnostic molecules, we determined (1) whether elk (Cervus elaphus) experimentally infected with P. tenuis produce antibodies against infective larvae or adult worms, and (2) if sera consistently recognize antigens that distinguish P. tenuis from a common nematode parasite of elk, the lungworm Dictyocaulus viviparus. Each of 10 elk were exposed to 15 or 300 infective P. tenuis larvae. Serum was collected (0, 41, and 83 days post-exposure and at necropsy) and monitored for antibodies using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblot. When reactivity of sera with larval P. tenuis protein was compared (day 0 versus 83), ELISA values were significantly higher on day 83 for elk exposed to 15 or 300 parasites. Likewise, ELISA values using protein of adult P. tenuis were higher for elk exposed to 300 larvae. Immunoblots showed that sera from elk, with adult worms in the central nervous system, consistently recognized the 25–27, 28–30, and 34–36 kDa antigens of infective larvae after 83 days. However, many D. viviparus molecules were found to cross-react with antibodies formed against meningeal worm antigens. Use of adult worm proteins for serodiagnosis appears limited, because no protein was consistently recognized by sera collected from elk exposed to 15 larvae. We believe that development of a reliable diagnostic test for meningeal worm requires more research addressing cross-reactivity and detection of P. tenuis during the incubation stage.
Mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) were captured in traps and immobilized with xylazine, later reversed with idazoxan. One hundred and forty-one goats were immobilized, 94 with a single injection and 47 with multiple injections. Dosage (mg/kg of body weight) of xylazine received, induction time, and recovery time after handling did not differ among sex-age classes. Increasing the dosage did not shorten induction time. The first injection of xylazine in multiple-injection captures was lower than the dose given in single-injection captures, suggesting that insufficient initial doses of xylazine made multiple injections necessary. Xylazine is an effective drug for immobilization of mountain goats captured in traps, at dosages of about 4.9 mg/kg. The dosage of xylazine required to immobilize mountain goats is higher than that reported for bighorn sheep and white-tailed deer.
Because of limited access to the endangered Attwater's prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri), we used a related species, the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), as a surrogate for disease evaluation. Free-living northern bobwhites (n = 62) on the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (near Eagle Lake, Texas, USA) were examined during spring and fall 1993 for helminthic endoparasites and specific antibodies against the infectious agents responsible for nine infectious diseases. Trichostrongylus cramae, Raillietina sp., and Strongyloides avium were collected from 97, 44, and 32% of northern bobwhites examined, respectively. Dispharynx nasuta and Syngamus trachea also were found. No gross lesions due to parasites were observed. Specific antibody to Pasteurella multocida was found in 3 of 53 plasma samples. It is possible that potentially pathogenic species such as P. multocida, T. cramae, and D. nasuta could threaten sympatric Attwater's prairie chickens.
Pteropid lyssaviral infection, lead poisoning, and the difficulties in diagnosing pteropid lyssaviral infection using histopathological examination of tissues are described in wild black flying foxes (Pteropus alecto) from northern Queensland (Australia). An adult female P. alecto showed aggression before death in January 1995. Lead poisoning was diagnosed due to the presence of intranuclear lead inclusion bodies in renal proximal convoluted tubular epithelium and high concentrations of lead in renal and hepatic tissues, 370.03 ± 7.35 ppm and 16.76 ± 0.53 ppm, respectively. Renal inclusion bodies were composed of lead, calcium, phosphorus, and possibly sulphur; some inclusions had their granules arranged in concentric bands. This bat also had a moderate concentration (8.09 ± 0.18 ppm) of cadmium in renal tissue. An adult male P. alecto presented with ascending paralysis before it died in May 1996. Pteropid lyssaviral infection was diagnosed subsequently in both bats in September 1996 by immunofluorescent and immunoperoxidase antibody tests for rabies on brains and viral culture from brains. Neither bat had gross or microscopic lesions of the brain that suggested a lyssaviral infection, apart from occasional, subtle, eosinophilic cytoplasmic inclusions in the neurones of the brain stem of the female. These cases illustrate the need for a specific test to detect pteropid lyssavirus such as an immunofluorescent antibody test for lyssavirus rather than histopathological examination of tissues.
Carbaryl (1-napthol methylcarbamate) is being considered for control of fleas on prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) used in black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) recovery in the western United States. The potential for relay toxicity in ferrets was determined by feeding carbaryl treated prairie dogs to black-footed ferret X Siberian polecat (M. eversmanni) hybrids. Adult prairie dogs were treated topically with 2.5 g of commercial 5% carbaryl dust sold as flea powder. After 14 days prairie dogs were killed and fed to ferrets. Potential for relay toxicity was evaluated by analyzing ferret blood cholinesterase (CHe), prairie dog brain Che, and hepatic carbamate concentration. There was no difference between pre- and post-exposure blood CHe activity, nor did treated prairie dog brain CHe differ significantly from controls. Post-exposure blood CHe did not exhibit reactivation after dilution in aqueous buffer. Hepatic carbaryl concentrations were less than detection limits (50 ppb). Based on these results, we conclude that short-term use of carbaryl for flea control on prairie dogs does not pose a hazard of relay toxicity in black-footed ferrets.
A free-ranging, adult male Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) experienced a closed, complete, non-comminuted transverse fracture of the left radius and ulna when captured in a leg snare. A dynamic compression plate (DCP) attached to the anterior surface of the radius was used to stabilize the fracture. Radiographs 44 days post-surgery indicated advanced primary bone healing. The lynx was released 46 days post-surgery near the site of capture. Radiotelemetry indicated long-term survival and movements similar to other males monitored during the same period.
Tetracycline hydrochloride (TC)-treated peanut butter or rodent chow baits were distributed during March 1990, on separate 0.53 ha sites in Oglethorpe County, Georgia (USA). Rodents were trapped on a control site prior to bait distribution and on two baited sites 6 days post-distribution. Cleaned skulls from euthanized mammals were grossly examined for TC florescence using an ultraviolet (UV) light. Mandibles were sectioned and examined for TC fluorescence using an ultraviolet light microscope. All 21 cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus), four eastern harvest mice (Rithrodontomys humulis), and two golden mice (Ochrotomys nuttalli) captured on the control site were negative for TC fluorescence. On the peanut butter bait site, mandible sections from 29 of 32 (91%) cotton rats, three of three (100%) eastern harvest mice, two of three (66%) golden mice, zero of five (0%) white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), one of three (33%) short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda), and zero of two (0%) least shrews (Cryptotis parva) were positive for TC. Results from the rodent chow bait site indicated that 18 of 25 (72%) cotton rats, zero of three (0%) eastern harvest mice, two of seven (29%) golden mice, zero of four (0%) white-footed mice, and zero of four (0%) least shrews were positive for TC fluorescence in mandible sections. These results suggest that a large portion of a free-ranging small rodent population can be administered biological markers or vaccines using baits.
A case of uterine adenocarcinoma is reported in a 26-yr-old, free-ranging beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence estuary (Quebec, Canada). This neoplasm appeared as a segmental stenotic thickening of the left uterine horn composed of well differentiated, but disorganized and infiltrative, glandular structures surrounded by an extensive scirrhous stroma. Abdominal carcinomatosis was observed on the mesosalpinx and on the serosal aspect of the gastric compartments. This is the first report of a malignancy originating in the uterus of a cetacean.
A 3-yr-old male African hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) had anorexia and weight loss for 1 wk before its death. The colon and mesocolon were diffusely infiltrated by a neoplastic proliferation of round cells with plasmacytoid features. A diagnosis of intestinal plasmacytoma was made and confirmed by electron microscopy. No other organs appeared to be affected. This is the first description of intestinal plasmacytoma in a hedgehog.
The prevalence and intensity of nematodes from the stomach and the prevalence of nematodes in the oral cavity were recorded in the frillneck lizard, Chlamydosaurus kingii, in Kakadu National Park (Australia) between 1991 and 1994, in order to determine whether or not a seasonal pattern was evident. Seven species were recorded; Strongyluris paronai, Skrjabinoptera goldmanae, Abbreviata, confusa, Abbreviata anomala, Physalopteroides filicauda, Kreisiella sp. and a species of Trichostrongyloidea. Only S. paronai showed a seasonal pattern. Only larval S. paronai occurred in stomach samples and larvae of this species occurred seasonally in the oral cavity of C. kingii, substantiating earlier findings that this genus migrates within the host. The occurrence of S. paronai in the oral cavity coincided with the highest prevalence and intensity of S. paronai in stomach samples. This shows a previously unrecorded aspect in the life cycle of this nematode species. Prevalence of S. paronai was positively correlated with ambient temperature which is highest in the months preceding the monsoonal rains, and coincides with an increase in field metabolic rate and general activity of the host.
Thirty-seven subadult and adult coyotes (Canis latrans), collected August 1992 through December 1996 from a coastal foothill area in northern California (USA), were examined for adult heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis). During 1992 through 1993, at the end of a 6 yr drought, none of four coyotes examined were infected with heartworms. However, during 1994 through 1996, after the drought had ended, prevalences were 91% in 23 adult coyotes and 40% in 10 subadult coyotes. Heartworm intensity did not differ by sex of coyote, and averaged (±SE) 19.4 ± 3.8 among adults; one subadult had >238 heartworms. The prevalence and intensity of heartworm infection in coyotes reported here for 1994 through 1996 are the highest reported anywhere in the United States.
The acuariid nematode Dispharynx nasuta was found in a princess parrot, Polytelis alexandrae, at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh (Pennsylnania, USA). This is the first report of D. nasuta from the hoster order Psittaciformes, and was the presumed cause of death in this parrot.
A retrospective serosurvey for antibodies to Ehrlichia chaffeensis was conducted on eight species of wild rodents (Mus musculus, Oryzomys palustris, Peromysctts leucopns, Rattus norvegicus, Reithrodontomys humulis, Sciurus carolinensis, Sciurus niger, and Sigmodon hispidus) from the southeastern United States. Serum samples (n = 281) collected between 1973 and 1993 were evaluated using an indirect fluorescent antibody test. All samples, screened at a dilution of 1:32, were negative for antibodies to E. chaffeensis. Sixty-three percent of the rodents tested were from areas where E. chaffeensis has been confirmed or is strongly suspected to be endemic. These data suggest limited or no involvement of rodents in the epidemiology of E. chaffeensis.
A 3-mo-old, male African hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) was anorectic and lethargic for a period of 3 days prior to death. Necropsy revealed lungs that were diffusely firm, dark red, and dorsally adhered by fibrinous tags to the pericardial sac. Histopathology revealed necrosuppurative bronchopneumonia with pulmonary abscesses and suppurative pericarditis and myocarditis. A Corynebacterium sp. was isolated from the lungs. We believe this is the first reported case of corynebacterial pneumonia in an African hedgehog.
Eleven alpine ibex (Capra ibex) and 27 chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) from Gran Paradiso National Park (Italy) were examined in March 1996. A 7-yr-old ibex buck had thick-walled carpal joints and enlargement of the right testicle characterized by necrosis and fibrosis. Microscopically, testicular lesions were characterized by large areas of necrosis, fibrosis with irregular aggregates of macrophages and lymphocytes, and scattered foci of suppuration. Specimens of the carpal bursae and testicle were cultured in serum dextrose agar and serum dextrose antibiotic plates. A Gram-negative coccobacillus was isolated from the testicle and subsequently identified as Brucella melitensis biotype 2. This is the first recognized case of brucellosis in alpine ibex.
Northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) and blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) in a Florida (USA) wildlife care facility developed clinical signs and gross lesions suggestive of the ongoing outbreak of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) conjunctivitis in house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) and American gold-finches (Carduelis tristis). Mycoplasmal organisms were cultured from conjunctival/corneal swabs of birds with sinusitis, conjunctivitis, and/or epiphora. All of the isolates tested were identified as Mycoplasma sturni by indirect immunofluorescence. Mycoplasma sturni as well as MG should be considered in the differential diagnosis of songbirds with conjunctivitis.
Renal disease was observed in two rehabilitated Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsii) from a facility in California (USA). The seals had leukocytosis and high serum phosphorus, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine concentrations. A retrospective study of leptospiral antibody serum titers indicated both seals had elevated titers to Leptospira interrogans serovar grippotyphosa. A third seal, which died about the time when the index cases occurred, also had elevated titers to L. interrogans serovar grippotyphosa. Post mortem histopathologic examination of all three seals showed tubular necrosis consistent with interstitial nephritis; spirochetes were seen within the kidney parenchyma of the third seal. Sea lions (Zalophus californianus) or elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) housed near the harbor seals were possible sources of exposure, but local wildlife also could have been responsible.
Serum samples collected from 623 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in southern Ontario (Canada) from 1985 to 1989 were tested for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi using an indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) staining method. Samples from 150 of the deer were also tested using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). At IFA titers of 1:64 and 1:128 deer with antibodies to B. burgdorferi appeared to be widespread throughout southern Ontario, with an apparent prevalence ranging from 3 to 47%. At IFA titres ≥1:256 and ELISA titres ≥1:160 deer with antibodies to B. burgdorferi were only present on Long Point which is the only known endemic focus of Ixodes scapularis, the primary vector for B. burgdorferi, in southern Ontario. At these titres the apparent prevalence of antibodies to B. burgdorferi on Long Point was only 5 to 7%, even though the mean intensity of infestation of adult I. scapularis on deer was >180, and 60% of the adult ticks are infected with B. burgdorferi. Based on these results, white-tailed deer do not appear to be a good sentinel species for the distribution of B. burgdorferi.