Main content area

A case of feline leprosy caused by Mycobacterium lepraemurium originating from the island of Kythira (Greece): diagnosis and treatment

Courtin, Francois, Huerre, Michel, Fyfe, Janet, Dumas, Paul, Boschiroli, Maria L.
cats, Mycobacterium lepraemurium, disease diagnosis, medical treatment, case studies, leprosy, Greece
A 2-year-old, 4 kg, healthy, domestic shorthair female cat presented with ulcerated subcutaneous nodules on the commissures of its mouth. The cat was negative for feline leukaemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus. Skin mycobacteriosis was diagnosed after detection of numerous acid-fast bacilli in Ziehl Neelsen-stained smears from the ulcers. Feline leprosy was suspected following preliminary polymerase chain reaction results: positive for Mycobacterium genus but negative for Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium avium complexes. Mycobacterium lepraemurium was later identified following DNA sequence analysis of the 5′ end of the 16S rRNA gene and the 16S–23S internal transcribed spacer region. Microscopic lesions consisted of pyogranulomas containing mainly large foamy macrophages with 10–100 intra-cellular acid-fast bacilli per field. The cat was cured after surgery and a 14-week course of clofazimine (30 mg daily) and clarithromycin (50 mg twice daily).