Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae was isolated from a wild-caught opossum (Didelphis virginiana). The opossum was quarantined in isolation and removed from contact with other animals. After a 2-mo period it was found dead in its cage, and presented for postmortem examination. Pure cultures of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae (SLU isolate) were recovered from heart blood, liver, spleen and lungs. To compare pathogenicity, an experimental infection was attempted in CF1 mice with a single dose of 1.5 × 107 organisms of both an ATCC standard strain and SLU isolate of E. rhusiopathiae. Similar signs, lesions and results of culture were found for both strains. The findings suggest that opossums can be infected with E. rhusiopathiae.
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Vol. 24 • No. 3