Bergeyella zoohelcum isolated from oral cavities of therapy dogs.
Bergeyella zoohelcum causes rare but severe human clinical diseases, which mostly arise from animal bites. Notably, Bergeyella infections can also occur in older people after prolonged exposure to dogs or cats without biting. We detected B. zoohelcum in oral cavities of therapy dogs in close contact with older people residing in nursing homes. Twenty-two bacterial isolates were identified as B. zoohelcum by using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Our results showed that MALDI-TOF MS is an effective tool for rapid identification of rarely isolated, difficult-to-identify microorganisms, such as B. zoohelcum, derived from not only human clinical samples but also animal samples. To our knowledge, this is the first report on detection of B. zoohelcum from therapy dogs. We have provided information on dog-assisted therapy to improve the relationship between humans and animals in ageing societies, particularly for preventive healthcare of older people living in nursing care facilities.