An outbreak of avian mycobacteriosis caused by mycobacterium intracellulare in little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor)

Julia E. Napier, Steven Heye Hinrichs, Francois Lampen, Peter Charles Iwen, Robert S. Wickert, Jodi L. Garrett, Tricia A. Aden, Eva Restis, Thomas G. Curro, Lee G. Simmons, Douglas L. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mycobacterium intracellulare (MIT) was diagnosed postmortem by culture and supporting histopathology in seven birds from a flock of little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor) at the Henry Doorly Zoo (HDZ). These birds represented 20% of the deaths in the population over a 4 yr period. Clinical signs in affected birds included severe respiratory distress characterized by open-mouth breathing with chronic debilitation. On exam, plaques were noted in the larynx, trachea, and soft tissue of the caudal oropharynx. Index cases were identified on necropsy in two birds on loan to another institution in 2003. Following a case confirmed antemortem at the HDZ, a three-drug protocol of rifampin (15 mg/kg p.o. s.i.d.), ethambutol (15 mg/kg p.o. s.i.d.), and clarithromycin (10 mg/kg p.o. s.i.d.) was started on this bird in 2004 and extended to the entire flock in 2005. Gastric wash, fecal samples, and throat plaques were obtained antemortem on five birds within the flock, selected because of the presence of oral plaques, and tested by culture followed by a polymerase chain reaction assay. MIT was detected in gastric washes from four birds and in throat plaques from all five. Three more birds died during treatment. After the seventh bird died, antimicrobial susceptibility testing performed in July 2007 indicated that the MIT was now resistant to most antibiotics tested, including rifampin and ethambutol. The treatment regimen was changed to minocycline (10 mg/kg p.o. b.i.d.) and clarithromycin (10 mg/kg p.o. s.i.d.). Oral plaques were not seen on monthly rechecks of the flock through November 2008. The proposed mechanism of transmission is exposure to wild birds but the source has not been determined. These cases of avian mycobacteriosis caused by MIT are the first known cases reported in little blue penguins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-686
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

Fingerprint

Mycobacterium intracellulare
Spheniscidae
mycobacterial diseases
Mycobacterium avium Complex
penguins
Birds
Disease Outbreaks
birds
flocks
clarithromycin
mouth
rifampicin
throat
Ethambutol
Clarithromycin
zoos
Rifampin
Pharynx
stomach
Stomach

Keywords

  • Avian mycobacteriosis
  • Eudyptula minor
  • Little blue penguin
  • Mycobacterium intracellulare
  • Plaques
  • Polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

Cite this

An outbreak of avian mycobacteriosis caused by mycobacterium intracellulare in little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor). / Napier, Julia E.; Hinrichs, Steven Heye; Lampen, Francois; Iwen, Peter Charles; Wickert, Robert S.; Garrett, Jodi L.; Aden, Tricia A.; Restis, Eva; Curro, Thomas G.; Simmons, Lee G.; Armstrong, Douglas L.

In: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, Vol. 40, No. 4, 01.12.2009, p. 680-686.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Napier, JE, Hinrichs, SH, Lampen, F, Iwen, PC, Wickert, RS, Garrett, JL, Aden, TA, Restis, E, Curro, TG, Simmons, LG & Armstrong, DL 2009, 'An outbreak of avian mycobacteriosis caused by mycobacterium intracellulare in little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor)', Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 680-686. https://doi.org/10.1638/2009-0014.1
Napier, Julia E. ; Hinrichs, Steven Heye ; Lampen, Francois ; Iwen, Peter Charles ; Wickert, Robert S. ; Garrett, Jodi L. ; Aden, Tricia A. ; Restis, Eva ; Curro, Thomas G. ; Simmons, Lee G. ; Armstrong, Douglas L. / An outbreak of avian mycobacteriosis caused by mycobacterium intracellulare in little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor). In: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 2009 ; Vol. 40, No. 4. pp. 680-686.
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