Between September 2001 and March 2013, 62 bacterial cultures (37 aerobic and 25 anaerobic) were performed on 37 blood samples from 23 Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) that were kept in captivity at the Brazilian National Center for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Mammals (CMA) in Pernambuco (CMA-PE) and Alagoas (CMA-AL), Brazil. All of the animals sampled exhibited clinical signs at the time of sampling including abscesses (n = 8), debilitation and anorexia (n = 22), and profound lethargy-moribundity (n = 7). The 4 animals with profound lethargy-moribundity died shortly after sampling of unknown causes. Bacteria were isolated from 15/37 (40.5%) and aerobic blood cultures from 13/23 animals (56.5%). None of the anaerobic cultures were positive. Aeromonas caviae, Aeromonas hydrophila, Aeromonas sp., Escherichia coli, Leclercia adecarboxylata, Pantoea agglomerans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas stutzeri, Pseudomonas sp., Sphingomonas paucimobilis, coagulase-negative Staphylococcus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis were each found in only one animal; Staphylococcus spp. was found in two; and Vibrio fluvialis in four. Thirteen samples had only one bacteria isolated, one sample had two bacteria, and one sample had three bacteria isolated. Regarding sex, age group, and origin among the manatees examined, 54.5% (6/11) of the females, 58.3% (7/12) of the males, 40% (2/5) of the calves, 66.7% (8/12) of the juveniles, 50% (3/6) of the adults, 55.5% (10/18) at CMA-PE, and 60% (3/5) at CMA-AL were found to be positive for bacterial growth during at least one sampling time. All Antillean manatees were clinically ill. Regarding clinical signs, bacteria were found in 50% (11/22) of blood samples of the animals showing debilitation and anorexia, 1 of 8 (12.5%) of blood samples of the animals showing abscesses, and 3 of 7 (42.9%) of blood samples of the animals showing profound lethargy-moribundity.
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