We investigated an outbreak of acute pneumonia among adult Chinese hares (Lepus sinensis) and diarrhea among juvenile hares in Hebei Province, China, in 2012. Diagnosis was based on necropsy examination, microbial characteristics, biochemical identification, and nucleotide sequence analysis. The isolated bacteria from tissue samples of dead hares were identified as Klebsiella pneumoniae ssp. pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae). This K. pneumoniae was resistant to the antimicrobials imipenem, meropenem, penicillin, and vancomycin, but was highly sensitive to cefepime, cotrimoxazole, and enrofloxacin. Klebsiella pneumoniae is an important opportunistic pathogen, which often causes nosocomial infections in immunocompromised patients. However, the emergence of drug-resistant K. pneumoniae in hares indicates the existence of increasing risk of pathogen transmission between humans and wildlife. Given the close association between wildlife, livestock, and humans, it is important to identify epidemiologic factors associated with infection in these hares to minimize the risk of K. pneumoniae transmission.
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Vol. 50 • No. 1