Corynebacterium bovis

Cornyebacterium bovis

Keeping the pathogen out of nude mice colonies is imperative to prevent skin disease, weight loss and poor growth, all of which can compromise research goals.

Transmission:  The bacterium is carried on the skin and in the oral cavity of mammals, and is transmitted by direct contact and by fomite transmission (handling, flake contact, etc.). The primary means of entrance of C. bovis into vivaria is often unknown, although several reservoirs of the bacterium have been suggested. Fomites and keratin flakes often are implicated in the transmission of the bacterium, but demonstration and extent of cross-contamination in an experimental setting have not been documented.

Clinical signs:

In Mice: C. bovis is usually manifested as a hyperkeratosis with yellow-white flakes adherent to thickened skin.

Infection is characterized by a scaly appearance due to the presence of small yellow-white flakes adherent to the skin, most prominent along the dorsum and often extending laterally to the flanks. Affected mice may lose weight and are often removed from study because of reports of poor growth of transplanted tumors or hindrance of immunologic studies. Mortality is low and the hyperkeratosis is transient but may recur.  Mice may be persistently colonized, even without displaying clinical signs.  C. bovis has also been cultured from skin of asymptomatic hisute immunocompetent mice.

In Cattle: Cysticercus bovis is not pathogenic for cattle and usually the infection causes no clinical signs, unless a vital organ (e.g. the heart) is massively infected, which is very unsusual. In case of massive infections muscle stiffness has been reported. However, infections have a substantial economic impact because the whole carcass is condemned at slaughter. Proper disinfection procedures, including the use of effective post-milking teat disinfectants in cattle facilities, will help to reduce the number of new infections.

Pathology and Diagnosis

Short, Gram-positive rods arranged in clusters and pallisades can be recognized in the stratum corneum on Gram-stained skin sections.

The bacterium can be detected in skin samples by a C. bovis-specific PCR test. Plated bacteria can be identified from the environment using DNA or Mald-Tof Sequencing. The bacterium can also be cultured by inoculating blood agar with skin or buccal swabs.

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