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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2020 Jan;32(1):147-151. doi: 10.1177/1040638719895475. Epub 2019 Dec 17.

Disseminated Mycobacterium kansasii infection in a white-tailed deer and implications for public and livestock health.

Ford AK1,2,3,4, Niedringhaus KD1,2,3,4, Anderson AN1,2,3,4, LaCour JM1,2,3,4, Nemeth NM1,2,3,4.

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Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA (Ford).
Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (Ford).
Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Athens, GA (Niedringhaus, Nemeth).
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Baton Rouge, LA (Anderson, LaCour).


We document a case of Mycobacterium kansasii, a rare, zoonotic bacterium, in a white-tailed deer (WTD; Odocoileus virginianus) in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Grossly, the deer had fibrinous pleuropneumonia with yellow, mineralized nodules scattered throughout the lungs and extending to the pleura. The kidneys were enlarged and had numerous pale foci in the cortex. Microscopically, the pulmonary architecture was replaced by variably sized, multifocal-to-coalescing granulomas with peripheral histiocytes and fewer multinucleate giant cells, and necrotic centers with mineralization and hemorrhage. The latter rarely contained one to a few acid-fast, slender, 7-┬Ám long bacteria, for which beaded morphology was sometimes evident. Similar acid-fast bacteria were also within histiocytes in the kidney. PCR assay of fresh lung sample and subsequent sequencing revealed a non-tuberculosis mycobacterium, M. kansasii. These lesions were similar to those that result from infection with M. bovis in WTD. Both M. bovis and M. kansasii are zoonotic. WTD are a reservoir of M. bovis, which is a major concern in regions in which WTD and cattle can come into close contact.


Mycobacterium kansasii; acid-fast; granuloma; non-tuberculosis mycobacteria; pneumonia; white-tailed deer

[Available on 2020-12-17]

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