Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Outbreak of tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium bovis in a cattery of Abyssinian cats in Italy.

Abstract

Mycobacterium bovis is a re-emerging zoonosis; it was diagnosed in five Abyssinian cats in a breeding cattery in Italy. The infection entered the cattery with an imported kitten (cat A); it had a suspected bite wound on its leg that had been treated at a veterinary clinic in Kiev, Ukraine, which is probably where it became infected with M. bovis. When the kitten arrived in Italy, there were four cats in the cattery; an adult female, her two kittens and a kitten imported from Russia. These were all healthy, and had no outdoor access. All five cats developed tuberculous interstitial pneumonia; in cat A this occurred 6 weeks after importation, the others were diagnosed 4-6 weeks later. Three cats were euthanised with deteriorating pneumonia while two cats remained clinically well on antibiotic therapy (marbofloxacin, doxycycline and azithromycin). The latter cases were euthanised after 5 weeks, as required by Italian law once M. bovis infection was suspected. Changes consistent with tuberculosis on gross post-mortem examination included mesenteric and mediastinal lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly and hepatomegaly, and the presence of disseminated focal white lesions on the cut surface of the spleen, liver and lungs. Visible acid-fast bacteria (cats A, B and C) were confirmed as Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex by PCR (cats A, B, C, D and E), refined to M. bovis (cats A, B and D), spoligotype SB0950 (cats A and D).