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Haemophilus somnus infection

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Datasheet

Haemophilus somnus infection

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 03 January 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Haemophilus somnus infection
  • Overview

  • Haemophilus somnus has been described as the etiological agent of a variety of diseases in cattle and sheep including thrombotic meningoencephalitis (TME), pneumonia, septicaemia, mastitis, arthritis, myo...

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    OX10 8DE
    UK
    compend@cabi.org
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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Haemophilus somnus infection

International Common Names

  • English: arthritis; enzootic calf pneumonia; epididymitis, orchitis, in sheep, goats, and pigs; haemophilus / histophilus-associated vulvitus and balanitis in sheep; Haemophilus septicemia of cattle; haemophilus somnus disease complex, haemophilosis, in cattle; haemophilus vaginitis and cervicitis in cattle; Histophilus somni disease complex in cattle; Histophilus vaginitis and cervicitis in cattle; infectious thromboembolic meningitis; infectious thromboembolic meningoencephalitis; mastitis; mastitis in ewes due to miscellaneous bacteria; meningoencephalitis, meningitis, meningoventriculitis; myocarditis; otitis media, externa, interna, middle and inner ear infections; pneumonia; reproductive disease; seminal vesiculitis, adenitis, in large animals; septicaemia; thrombotic meningoencephalitis

English acronym

  • TEME

Overview

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Haemophilus somnus has been described as the etiological agent of a variety of diseases in cattle and sheep including thrombotic meningoencephalitis (TME), pneumonia, septicaemia, mastitis, arthritis, myocarditis and reproductive disease (Humphrey and Stephens, 1983). It is also found as a commensal in the prepuces and semen (Humphrey et al., 1982; Krogh et al., 1983), in the female genital tract (Kwiecien and Little, 1992) and may be a part of the resident microbial flora of the upper respiratory tract (Humphrey and Stephens, 1983; Corbeil et al., 1986).

A disease condition in feedlot cattle called ‘infectious thromboembolic meningoencephalitis’ was described in 1956 by a group of veterinary investigators at Fort Collins, Colorado (Griner et al., 1956). A variety of central nervous system disturbances were observed and most animals died within a few days. Although bacteria were observed in histological sections, a bacterial cause for this disease could not be confirmed at that time. A disease with similar manifestations was observed a few years later. A Gram-negative rod was isolated from the cerebral lesions and the disease could be reproduced by intravenous injection (Kennedy et al., 1960). The bacterium was a non-capsulated, non-motile rod, which fermented a number of carbohydrates and regularly producing indole. It was labelled ‘Haemophilus-like’ although it did not require X- or V-factor for growth. The name [Haemophilus] somnus was proposed in 1969 for this bacterium (Bailie, 1969).

However, phenotypically similar bacteria had earlier been isolated from sheep. Histophilus ovis was isolated from mastitis in sheep in 1956 (Roberts, 1956) and had later been isolated from ovine septicaemia, synovitis, epididymitis and from ovine vaginas (Rahaley and White, 1977; Rahaley, 1978). An organism called Histophilus ovis was isolated from sheep already in 1925 (Mitchell, 1925). In 1958 a bacterium was isolated in Australia from lambs with septicaemia and designated Haemophilus agni (Kennedy et al., 1958).

DNA-DNA hybridizations have shown that Histophilus ovis, Haemophilus somnus and Haemophilus agni should be regarded as the same species (Walker et al., 1985; Piechulla et al., 1986) supporting earlier investigations on the antigenic and cytochemical relationships among these taxa (Stephens et al., 1983). The taxonomic position of this species is uncertain as it is not affiliated to the genus Haemophilus either by DNA-DNA hybridization (Walker et al., 1985; Piechulla et al., 1986), DNA-rRNA hybridization (Ley et al., 1990) nor by 16S rRNA sequencing (Dewhirst et al., 1993). It appears to represent a new genus within the family Pasteurellaceae (Bisgaard, 1995). In the Eighth edition of Bergey's Manual, H. somnus, H. agni and H. ovis are listed as species incerta sedis (Kilian and Biberstein, 1984). Haemophilus somnus is currently used as a convenient, although incorrect, name for these taxa. However, Histophilus ovis is often preferred, e.g. by Australian authors. Clarification of the taxonomic position and nomenclature related to this species is required. A formal description of the species still awaits to be published and no type strain has yet been designated.

Hosts/Species Affected

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H. somnus are commonly isolated from cattle and sheep. In addition, isolation from buffalo (Ismail, 1991) and American bison (Ward et al., 1999) has been reported. Host specific subgroups seem to exist within the species, reflecting the use of H. agni and H. ovis for strains isolated from sheep. Appuhamy et al. (1997, 1998) confirmed that different genotypes were present in cattle and sheep using PCR-typing. Kirkham et al. (1989) also found subspecific divisions related to host predilection using plasmid profiling and restriction enzyme analysis. Nevertheless, there does not seem to be a strict host preference for the different subtypes of H. somnus, e.g. Lees et al. (1990) showed that having cattle on the farm was a risk factor for H. somnus infection among sheep and infertility in ewes.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

IsraelPresentGrinberg et al., 1993a; Grinberg et al., 1993b; Grinberg et al., 1994
JapanPresentAmano et al., 1990; Kawado et al., 1991; Nagasoka et al., 1992; Nakaya et al., 1998
TurkeyPresentArda et al., 1989; özdemir, 1992; Diker et al., 1994; Kaya et al., 1995; Haziroglu et al., 1997; Saglam et al., 1998

Africa

EgyptPresentIsmail, 1991
EritreaPresentSelim et al., 1998
ZimbabwePresentOdiawo et al., 1990

North America

CanadaPresentGuichon et al., 1989
-OntarioPresentKwiecien and Little, 1992
-SaskatchewanPresentDonkersgoed et al., 1990; Orr, 1992
MexicoPresentAcosta et al., 1995
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CaliforniaPresentKennedy et al., 1958; Kennedy and Biberstein, 1960; Akhtar et al., 1996; Akhtar et al., 1997
-MinnesotaPresentSivula et al., 1996

South America

ArgentinaPresentCampero et al., 1992; Campero et al., 1993; Carrillo et al., 1993

Europe

AustriaPresentBuchner et al., 1995
Czechoslovakia (former)PresentMazurová, 1989; Mazurová et al., 1990
DenmarkPresentTegtmeier et al., 1999b; Krogh et al., 1983; Fussing and Wegener, 1993
FrancePresentBaudet et al., 1994
GermanyPresentBinder et al., 1990; Plagemann and Mutters, 1991; Haziroglu et al., 1997; Rohn et al., 1998
HungaryPresentSzalay et al., 1994; Rusvai and Fodor, 1998; Miklós et al., 1999
ItalyPresentBiolatti et al., 1991
PolandPresentStefaniak, 1996
SwitzerlandPresentCorboz and Wild, 1981
UKPresentGill, 1992; McDowell et al., 1994; Cassidy et al., 1997; Otter and Farrer, 1997

Oceania

AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-New South WalesPresentPhilbey et al., 1991
-Western AustraliaPresentRoberts, 1956; Rahaley and White, 1977
New ZealandPresentFairley, 1996

Pathology

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Multiple infarcts in any part of the brain and spinal cord are characteristic lesions of the nervous form of the disease. The lesions vary in colour from bright red to brown, and in diameter from 0.5 to 3 cm. The meningitis might be focal or diffuse with cloudy or slightly yellow cerebro-spinal-fluid. Haemorrhages may also be present in the myocardium, skeletal muscles, kidneys and the serosal surfaces of the gastro-intestinal tract (Radostits et al., 2000). In the synovial membranes of the joints there may be petechiation and oedema. Myocardial abscesses may be present and are most common in the left ventricular free wall. Histologically, vasculitis and thrombosis, with or without infarctions, and with a predominance of neutrophils are often present in tissues where the infection is located.

Pneumonic disease is characterized by a fibrinopurulent bronchopneumonia although the posterior aspects of the lung may be oedematous and have a rubbery consistency (Jackson et al., 1987). Histologically, a fibrineous/necrotizing broncopneumonia or a suppurative bronchopneumonia is present with fibrin, neutrophils and macrophages filling the alveoles (Bryson et al., 1990; Tegtmeier et al., 1999a). In more than 50% of the cases a fibrinous or serofibrinous inflammation of the pleura, pericardium or peritoneum is found.

Conjunctivitis similar to that found in infectious bovine rhinotracheitis may occur (Radostits et al., 2000).

Diagnosis

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Clinical diagnosis


In the per-acute form of the nervous disease (TME) animals may be found dead without pre-monitory signs. In the more common acute form neurological involvement is observed, usually with increased temperature and depression. The eyes are usually partially or completely closed (‘sleepers syndrome’). The animals may be recumbent or ataxic and sometimes opistotonus and muscle tremors occur. Affected animals that are treated before they become recumbent will often recover in 6-12 hours. Ocular lesions with retinal haemorrhages and accumulation of exudate (‘cotton tuft’) are quite common (Radostits et al., 2000).

Differential diagnosis to the nervous form might be: listeriosis, hypovitaminosis-A, poisoning, rabies, hypomagnesaemic tetany and nervous acetonaemia.

In connection with septicaemia in lambs, the most striking feature is the presence of multiple haemorrhages throughout the carcass. A constant finding is focal hepatic necrosis surrounded by a zone of haemorrhage.

Pneumonia and pleuritis caused by H. somnus cannot be distinguished clinically from the other common causes of pneumonia in cattle. Most animals with myocarditis have a previous history of being treated for an undifferentiated fever and depression within the previous 10-14 days (Janzen, 1997).

In all forms of the disease the diagnosis should be confirmed by detection of the agent.


Laboratory diagnosis


Due to the phenotypic variability (see pathogen characteristics) identification of H somnus is sometimes problematic. Phenotypic characterization using different kits has been attempted but seems to be inadequate for routine use (Salmon et al., 1995; Nakaya, 1999). Thomson et al. (1990) reported that MAb used in a coagglutination test was specific for H. somnus. A PCR-test based on the 16S rDNA gene has been shown to represent a reliable and species specific method for identification of H. somnus in pure cultures and for detection of the organism in mixed cultures (Angen et al., 1998).

Selective media for H. somnus have been described (Ward et al., 1983; Slee and Stephens, 1985; Brewer et al., 1985, 1986; Corboz, 1986) but the usefulness of these media have been questioned (Kwiecien and Little, 1989). Detection of H. somnus using immunohistochemistry (Tegtmeier et al., 1995) and in-situ hybridization (Tegtmeier et al., 1999b) has been described. Bacterial cultivation has been shown to have lower sensitivity than detection using genetically based methods. This might both be due to the feeble-growing nature of the bacterium or the fact that it is particularly susceptible to antibiotics (Martin et al., 1981). Tegtmeier et al. (2000b) compared bacterial cultivation, PCR, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry as tools for diagnosis of H. somnus pneumonia in cattle. H. somnus could only be isolated from 15% of the lungs by bacterial cultivation, while 26% and 29% were positive by in-situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Using PCR, viable bacteria were detected in 32% of the samples, while DNA from H. somnus was present in 49% of the lungs.

It is difficult to determine whether a positive culture or PCR test of H. somnus from a mucosal surface indicates an etiological role of the organism or merely a carrier state.

Different serological tests have been applied for detection of animals infected with H. somnus. A CF test have been shown to be positive 10 days after following infection with the titres declining to low levels after 30 days (Stephens et al., 1981). Serological diagnosis using microagglutination (Widders et al., 1989), immunoblot (Yarnall and Corbeil, 1989) and ELISA (Tekes and Hajtos, 1990; Stefaniak, 1993; Akhtar et al., 1996) have also been described.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Acoustic Signs / Deafness Sign
Acoustic Signs / Purulent, mucoid discharge, excess wax, foul odour, ears Sign
Acoustic Signs / Purulent, mucoid discharge, excess wax, foul odour, ears Sign
Acoustic Signs / Rubbing ears, scratching Sign
Cardiovascular Signs / Jugular pulse Sign
Cardiovascular Signs / Peripheral venous distention, jugular distention Sign
Cardiovascular Signs / Tachycardia, rapid pulse, high heart rate Sign
Cardiovascular Signs / Tachycardia, rapid pulse, high heart rate Sign
Cardiovascular Signs / Tachycardia, rapid pulse, high heart rate Sign
Cardiovascular Signs / Tachycardia, rapid pulse, high heart rate Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Bloat in ruminants, tympany Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Sign
Digestive Signs / Difficulty in prehending or chewing food Sign
Digestive Signs / Dysphagia, difficulty swallowing Sign
Digestive Signs / Dysphagia, difficulty swallowing Sign
Digestive Signs / Excessive salivation, frothing at the mouth, ptyalism Sign
Digestive Signs / Grinding teeth, bruxism, odontoprisis Sign
Digestive Signs / Rumen hypomotility or atony, decreased rate, motility, strength Sign
Digestive Signs / Rumen hypomotility or atony, decreased rate, motility, strength Sign
Digestive Signs / Tongue weakness, paresis, paralysis Sign
Digestive Signs / Vomiting or regurgitation, emesis Sign
Digestive Signs / Vomiting or regurgitation, emesis Sign
General Signs / Abnormal proprioceptive positioning, knuckling Sign
General Signs / Abnormal proprioceptive positioning, knuckling Sign
General Signs / Ataxia, incoordination, staggering, falling Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Diagnosis
General Signs / Cyanosis, blue skin or membranes Sign
General Signs / Cyanosis, blue skin or membranes Sign
General Signs / Decreased, absent thirst, hypodipsia, adipsia Sign
General Signs / Dehydration Sign
General Signs / Dysmetria, hypermetria, hypometria Sign
General Signs / Dysmetria, hypermetria, hypometria Sign
General Signs / Dysmetria, hypermetria, hypometria Sign
General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Diagnosis
General Signs / Forelimb lameness, stiffness, limping fore leg Sign
General Signs / Forelimb swelling, mass in fore leg joint and / or non-joint area Sign
General Signs / Generalized lameness or stiffness, limping Sign
General Signs / Generalized weakness, paresis, paralysis Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Diagnosis
General Signs / Haemorrhage of any body part or clotting failure, bleeding Sign
General Signs / Head, face, ears, jaw weakness, droop, paresis, paralysis Sign
General Signs / Head, face, ears, jaw weakness, droop, paresis, paralysis Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb lameness, stiffness, limping hind leg Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb lameness, stiffness, limping hind leg Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb lameness, stiffness, limping hind leg Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb swelling, mass in hind leg joint and / or non-joint area Sign
General Signs / Hypothermia, low temperature Sign
General Signs / Hypothermia, low temperature Sign
General Signs / Inability to stand, downer, prostration Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Cattle & Buffaloes:Heifer,Cattle & Buffaloes:Cow,Sheep & Goats:Lamb,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
General Signs / Internal abdominal mass, swellings, adhesions abdomen Sign
General Signs / Kyphosis, arched back Sign
General Signs / Lack of growth or weight gain, retarded, stunted growth Sign
General Signs / Lack of growth or weight gain, retarded, stunted growth Sign
General Signs / Lack of growth or weight gain, retarded, stunted growth Sign
General Signs / Lymphadenopathy, swelling, mass or enlarged lymph nodes Sign
General Signs / Lymphadenopathy, swelling, mass or enlarged lymph nodes Sign
General Signs / Mammary gland swelling, mass, hypertrophy udder, gynecomastia Sign
General Signs / Mammary gland swelling, mass, hypertrophy udder, gynecomastia Sign
General Signs / Opisthotonus Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Sign
General Signs / Paraparesis, weakness, paralysis both hind limbs Sign
General Signs / Paraparesis, weakness, paralysis both hind limbs Sign
General Signs / Polydipsia, excessive fluid consumption, excessive thirst Sign
General Signs / Reluctant to move, refusal to move Sign
General Signs / Reluctant to move, refusal to move Sign
General Signs / Reluctant to move, refusal to move Sign
General Signs / Reluctant to move, refusal to move Sign
General Signs / Reluctant to move, refusal to move Sign
General Signs / Reluctant to move, refusal to move Sign
General Signs / Stiffness or extended neck Sign
General Signs / Stiffness or extended neck Sign
General Signs / Sudden death, found dead Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Diagnosis
General Signs / Swelling mass penis, prepuce, testes, scrotum Sign
General Signs / Swelling mass penis, prepuce, testes, scrotum Sign
General Signs / Swelling mass, vulva, clitoris Sign
General Signs / Tenesmus, straining, dyschezia Sign
General Signs / Tetraparesis, weakness, paralysis all four limbs Sign
General Signs / Tetraparesis, weakness, paralysis all four limbs Sign
General Signs / Torticollis, twisted neck Sign
General Signs / Torticollis, twisted neck Sign
General Signs / Trembling, shivering, fasciculations, chilling Sign
General Signs / Trembling, shivering, fasciculations, chilling Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Sign
General Signs / Weight loss Sign
General Signs / Weight loss Sign
General Signs / Weight loss Sign
General Signs / Weight loss Sign
General Signs / Weight loss Sign
Musculoskeletal Signs / Forelimb spasms, myoclonus Sign
Musculoskeletal Signs / Hindlimb spasms, myoclonus Sign
Nervous Signs / Abnormal behavior, aggression, changing habits Sign
Nervous Signs / Circling Sign
Nervous Signs / Circling Sign
Nervous Signs / Circling Sign
Nervous Signs / Coma, stupor Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Diagnosis
Nervous Signs / Constant or increased vocalization Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Diagnosis
Nervous Signs / Excitement, delirium, mania Sign
Nervous Signs / Excitement, delirium, mania Sign
Nervous Signs / Head pressing Sign
Nervous Signs / Head pressing Sign
Nervous Signs / Head shaking, headshaking Sign
Nervous Signs / Head tilt Sign
Nervous Signs / Head tilt Sign
Nervous Signs / Head, face, neck, tongue hypoesthesia, anesthesia Sign
Nervous Signs / Hyperesthesia, irritable, hyperactive Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Sign
Nervous Signs / Muscle hypotonia Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Diagnosis
Nervous Signs / Propulsion, aimless wandering Sign
Nervous Signs / Seizures or syncope, convulsions, fits, collapse Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Sign
Nervous Signs / Tetany Sign
Nervous Signs / Tremor Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf,Sheep & Goats:Lamb Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Anisocoria Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Blepharospasm Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Blindness Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Blindness Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Chemosis, conjunctival, scleral edema, swelling Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Conjunctival, scleral, injection, abnormal vasculature Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Conjunctival, scleral, injection, abnormal vasculature Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Conjunctival, scleral, redness Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Conjunctival, scleral, redness Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Corneal edema, opacity Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Corneal edema, opacity Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Corneal edema, opacity Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Corneal neovascularization, pannus Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Corneal ulcer, erosion Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Decreased or absent menace response but not blind Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Decreased tearing, lacrimation Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Exophthalmos, eyes protruding, proptosis Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Hypopyon, lipid, or fibrin, flare, of anterior chamber Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Hypopyon, lipid, or fibrin, flare, of anterior chamber Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Lacrimation, tearing, serous ocular discharge, watery eyes Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Lacrimation, tearing, serous ocular discharge, watery eyes Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Miosis, meiosis, constricted pupil Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Miosis, meiosis, constricted pupil Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Mydriasis, dilated pupil Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Nystagmus Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Nystagmus Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Nystagmus Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Papilledema, increased size optic nerve Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Photophobia Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Prolapsed third eyelid, protrusion nictitating membrane Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Ptosis, lid droop Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Purulent discharge from eye Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Retinal haemorrhage, bleeding Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Strabismus Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Strabismus Sign
Ophthalmology Signs / Strabismus Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Ocular pain, eye Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Ocular pain, eye Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain mammary gland, udder Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain mammary gland, udder Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain, head, face, jaw, ears Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain, neck, cervical, throat Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain, penis Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain, scrotum Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain, seminal vesicles Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain, testes Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain, vulva, vagina Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain, vulva, vagina Sign
Reproductive Signs / Abnormal size testes / scrotum Sign
Reproductive Signs / Abortion or weak newborns, stillbirth Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sign
Reproductive Signs / Bloody milk, red, pink, brown milk Sign
Reproductive Signs / Bloody milk, red, pink, brown milk Sign
Reproductive Signs / Cold mammary gland, cool udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Cold mammary gland, cool udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Cut tear injury, scrotum, testes Sign
Reproductive Signs / Edema of mammary gland, udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Edema of mammary gland, udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Female infertility, repeat breeder Cattle & Buffaloes:Heifer,Cattle & Buffaloes:Cow,Cattle & Buffaloes:Steer Sign
Reproductive Signs / Firm mammary gland, hard udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Firm mammary gland, hard udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Haemospermia, blood, red semen Sign
Reproductive Signs / Heat on palpation scrotum, testes Sign
Reproductive Signs / Lack of libido or erection Sign
Reproductive Signs / Lack of libido or erection Sign
Reproductive Signs / Male infertility Sign
Reproductive Signs / Male infertility Sign
Reproductive Signs / Male infertility Sign
Reproductive Signs / Mastitis, abnormal milk Cattle & Buffaloes:Cow Sign
Reproductive Signs / Mucous discharge, vulvar, vaginal Sign
Reproductive Signs / Papule, pustule, vesicle, ulcer penis or prepuce Sign
Reproductive Signs / Purulent discharge, vulvar, vaginal Sign
Reproductive Signs / Purulent discharge, vulvar, vaginal Sign
Reproductive Signs / Purulent discharge, vulvar, vaginal Sign
Reproductive Signs / Purulent or mucoid discharge, cervix or uterus Cattle & Buffaloes:Heifer,Cattle & Buffaloes:Cow Sign
Reproductive Signs / Slough of mammary gland, udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Slough of mammary gland, udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Vaginal or cervical ulcers, vesicles, erosions, tears, papules, pustules Sign
Reproductive Signs / Vaginal or cervical ulcers, vesicles, erosions, tears, papules, pustules Sign
Reproductive Signs / Vulval ulcers, vesicles, erosions, tears, cuts, pustules, papules Sign
Reproductive Signs / Warm mammary gland, hot, heat, udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Warm mammary gland, hot, heat, udder Sign
Respiratory Signs / Abnormal breathing sounds of the upper airway, airflow obstruction, stertor, snoring Sign
Respiratory Signs / Abnormal lung or pleural sounds, rales, crackles, wheezes, friction rubs Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Change in voice, vocal strength Sign
Respiratory Signs / Coughing, coughs Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Dyspnea, difficult, open mouth breathing, grunt, gasping Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Increased respiratory rate, polypnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea Cattle & Buffaloes:Calf Diagnosis
Respiratory Signs / Mucoid nasal discharge, serous, watery Sign
Respiratory Signs / Mucoid nasal discharge, serous, watery Sign
Respiratory Signs / Purulent nasal discharge Sign
Respiratory Signs / Purulent nasal discharge Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Cold skin, cool ears, extremities Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Cold skin, cool ears, extremities Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Matted or dirty hair Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Purulent discharge skin Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Rough hair coat, dull, standing on end Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Rough hair coat, dull, standing on end Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin edema Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin edema Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin fistula, sinus Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin necrosis, sloughing, gangrene Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin necrosis, sloughing, gangrene Sign
Urinary Signs / Dysuria, difficult urination, stranguria Sign
Urinary Signs / Polyuria, increased urine output Sign
Urinary Signs / Urinary incontinence, dribbling urine Sign

Disease Course

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H. somnus colonizes the mucosal surface of the upper respiratory tract (Corbeil, 1990). Some strains are able to invade the circulatory system and cause septicaemia. In thrombotic meningoencephalitic disease (TME) the bacterium will adhere to the vascular endothelial cells in the brain followed by contraction and desquamation of cells with exposure of sub-endothelial collagen. This is followed by thrombosis, vasculitis and ischaemic necrosis of the adjacant parenchyma (Thompson and Little, 1981). Haemorrhagic necrosis occurs throughout the brain resulting in the major clinical findings of depression, paresis and recumbency. Fibrin thrombi occur in the small vessels and capillaries of the liver, spleen, kidney, lung, heart and brain suggesting that disseminated intravascular coagulation may be a feature of the pathogenesis of H. somnus septicaemia. The septicaemia usually causes a marked leukopenia, neutropenia and degenerative left-shift. Because septicaemia can occur even with high levels of serum antibodies it is hypothesized that the formation of antigen-antibody complexes may contribute to the development of vasculitis (Radostits et al., 2000). It is possible that previous exposure to H. somnus infection is necessary for typical TME to occur. Inoculation of colostrum-deprived calves with H. somnus causes septicaemia but does not produce lesions typical of TME. This suggests that the disease may be an example of a type III hypersensitivity reaction.

Myocarditis has been recognized with increased frequency (Guichon et al., 1988; Harris and Janzen, 1989) and is characterized by acute and chronic heart failure.

The pathogenesis of the pneumonia is not clear. H. somnus has been isolated from cattle with bronchopneumonia and fibrinous or necrotizing pneumonia but the lungs of cattle dying with thrombotic meningoencephalitis are usually not affected with pneumonia. Pneumonia associated with H. somnus is normally of a subacute or chronic nature and the portal of entry is probably via the upper respiratory tract (Jackson et al., 1987). Microscopically the lung lesions are characterized by suppurative or necrotizing bronchiolitis (Tegtmeier et al., 1999a).

H. somnus has been isolated from ewes with mastitis (Roberts, 1956) and from cattle in connection with mild, chronic mastitis, an acute form with high fever and blood-stained milk, and a gangrenous form (Hazlett et al., 1983; Armstrong et al., 1986).

Epidemiology

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H. somnus can act both as a pathogen, in association with a variety of diseases, and as a commensal organism colonising mucosal surfaces. H. somnus is normally found in the genital organs (semen, preputium and vagina) (Humphrey et al., 1982; Krogh et al., 1983; Corbeil et al., 1986; Kirkham et al., 1989) and to a lesser extent in the nasal cavity (Corbeil et al., 1986).


Septicaemia


Thrombotic meningoencephalitis (TME) is primarily a disease in feedlot cattle (Saunders et al., 1980) but can also affect dairy animals and cattle on pasture. TME is frequently associated with recent transports (Panciera et al., 1968), restricted space and wet and cold weather (Martin et al., 1981). Buchner et al. (1995) showed that changes in housing, bad weather and feeding with maize contaminated with Fusarium toxins predisposed for TME. Encephalitic disease has been reliably reproduced using an intracisteral calf assay (Stephens et al., 1982). Saunders et al. (1980) reported that most cases occur in animals 7-9 months of age but animals at all ages may be affected.


Pneumonia


Pneumonia due to H. somnus has been reported in veal calves, dairy replacement calves, feedlot cattle and adult animals. Mixed infections with Pasteurella multocida,Mannheimia [Pasteurella] haemolytica and H. somnus are not uncommon (Corbeil et al., 1986; Tegtmeier et al., 1999a). Calves have been shown to be most susceptible to pneumonia when passive immunity wanes (Corbeil et al., 1984). Epidemiological surveys of mortality in weaned beef calves due to pneumonia and pleuritis caused by H. somnus have indicated that the calves are most susceptible the first 5 weeks after arrival in the feedlot (Donkersgoed et al., 1990). Pneumonia have been experimentally reproduced by intrabronchial inoculation (Corbeil et al., 1986). Due to the multifactorial etiology of calf pneumonia, the factors which induce pneumonia under natural conditions are still not fully resolved. An attempt to induce pneumonia by inhalation of an aerosol of H. somnus was not successful, even after pre-infecting the calves with Mycoplasma bovis (Tegtmeier et al., 2000a). A combined effect of H. somnus, alone or together with other bacterial pathogens, mycoplasmas and viruses, combined with host immunity and management factors will probably determine whether pneumonic disease occurs.


Genital infections


H. somnus has been associated with abortions in cattle and sheep (Chladek, 1975; Van Dreumel and Kierstead, 1975; Klavano, 1980; Humphrey and Stephens, 1983; Miller et al., 1983). Whether this is caused by haematogenous spread following respiratory disease or a venereal transmission is not clear. Corbeil et al. (1986) observed abortions in cattle after intravenous, but not after intrabronchial, inoculation of H. somnus. Experimentally, the organisms can be embryocidal, indicating a possible role in early embryonic mortality. Following septicaemia sporadic abortions have been reported in cattle (Kwiecien and Little, 1991).

It has been speculated whether the isolates colonizing the genital tract might serve as a reservoir for spread of respiratory disease and septicaemia. H. somnus isolates from the genital tract have been shown to be pathogenic in intracisteral calf assays (Kwiecien and Little, 1992). On the other hand, several investigations have indicated a low pathogenic potential for at least some of the isolates colonizing the genital tract. Corbeil et al. (1986) showed that 25% of the preputial isolates were sensitive to complement killing in bovine serum, whereas most isolates from clinical disease were serum resistant. Phase variation in LOS is currently believed to be an important virulence factor in H. somnus (Inzana et al., 1992,1997). In contrast to strains isolated from clinical disease, preputial isolates of H. somnus from healthy cattle have not yet been shown to phase-vary their LOS (Inzana et al., 1992; Wu et al., 2000). Fussing and Wegener (1993) showed that strains isolated in Denmark from the genital tract generally showed little homology to strains isolated from cases of pneumonia as evaluated by restriction enzyme analysis (REA) and ribotyping.


Typing


Antigenic heterogeneity has been described (Canto and Biberstein, 1982; Stephens et al., 1987). Serological differences have been shown to reflect the geographical origin of the respective strains but not the pathological or anatomical origin (Canto and Biberstein, 1982). DNA-based methods have been used to investigate the epidemiology of H. somnus infections. Corboz and Wild (1981) used polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) to compare isolates from disease conditions and clinically healthy animals, without detecting systematic differences. Subspecific divisions of H. somnus have been investigated by random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) (Myers et al., 1993), ribotyping and REA (Fussing and Wegener, 1993; Ward et al., 1995), plasmid profiling (Appuhamy et al., 1998; Fussing and Wegener, 1993) and PCR-based methods (Appuhamy et al., 1997, 1998).

Impact: Economic

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It is difficult to estimate the economic significance of the different clinical manifestations of H. somnus infection. Morbidity of the nervous form of the disease in a susceptible group of calves is low and averages about 2% when almost 100% of the animals are serologically positive for the organism, but may be up to 10% in some outbreaks (Radostits et al., 2000). The case fatality rate, however, is 90% if the affected animals are not treated early in the course of the disease. Septicaemia in lambs due to H. somnus can result in a morbidity approaching 10%. The contribution of H. somnus to bovine respiratory disease is difficult to assess due to the multifactorial etiology of the disease. In Denmark, H. somnus is the pathogen most commonly isolated from bovine pneumonia (Tegtmeier et al., 1999a). Ribble et al. (1988) concluded that about 17% of fatal respiratory disease in unvaccinated steers during the first 2 months in the feedlot could have been prevented by vaccination with a H. somnus bacterin.

Zoonoses and Food Safety

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H. somnus has never been isolated from humans.

Disease Treatment

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H. somnus is sensitive to a number of antibiotics (Martin et al., 1981; Giles et al., 1991; Allen et al., 1992; Watts et al., 1994; Salmon et al., 1996; Thomas et al., 1998). A good clinical effect has been described with penicillin (Allen et al., 1992) and oxytetracyclin (Musser et al., 1996; Radostits et al., 2000). Cattle with the nervous form of the disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics but the prognosis in recumbent animals is unfavourable.

Prevention and Control

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Vaccines using H. somnus bacterins have been available for use in North America and Europe but the efficacy is uncertain. Reduced mortality due to vaccination has been reported in connection with the nervous form of the disease in cattle (Harris and Janzen, 1989). Vaccination of feedlot calves before or after entry into the feedlot has not shown any protection against respiratory and myocardial disease (Donkersgoed et al., 1990). For environmental and husbandry factors contributing to disease, see section Epidemiology.

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