An outbreak of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis (Yptb) occurred in a closed colony of Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) and resulted in the death of seven bats over a 6-week period. An initial survey of the remaining bats revealed visceral abscessation characteristic of pseudotuberculosis in five of the 12 bats examined (41.7%), inciting depopulation of the colony. At necropsy, 70% of the 115 bats in the colony exhibited gross evidence suggestive of Yptb infection, including mesenteric lymphadenopathy (ML), hepatic abscessation (HA), and/or splenomegaly (SPM). Thirty of these bats (13 females and 17 males of various ages) were chosen at random and their tissues submitted for bacterial culture and histopathologic examination. Twenty-three of these 30 bats had one or more gross lesions considered consistent with Yptb, including ML, HA, and SPM. On histopathology, four of the 30 bats had necrotizing lesions containing Gram-negative bacteria in multiple organs, while 18 others exhibited mild mesenteric lymphadenitis and hepatitis. Four of the 30 bats had positive cultures for Yptb. Bats with gross evidence of mesenteric lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly, or histopathologic presence of demodicosis or bacteria in tissues were more likely (P < 0.05) to have a positive Yersinia culture. Examination of the correlation between population density and mortality rates of the colony revealed that the mortality rate of subadult bats increased dramatically at the time of the outbreak, when the population density was at its highest. It is suspected that stress, primarily from severe overcrowding, predisposed the bat colony to morbidity and mortality from this organism, which likely originated from a rodent reservoir.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1