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

Petra Cerna , Conor O'halloran, Olga Sjatkovskaj, Danielle Gunn-Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 six weeks after importation, the others were diagnosed four to six 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 five weeks, as required by Italian law once M. bovis infection was suspected. Changes consistent with tuberculosis on gross post-mortem examination included mesenteric and mesenchymal 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 Mycobacterium bovis (cats A, B and D), spoligotype SB0950 (cats A and D).
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransboundary and Emerging Diseases
Early online date4 Sep 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Sep 2018


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