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Isolation of Clostridium limosum from an outbreak of metritis in farmed mink

Biström, Mia, Moisander-Jylhä, Anna-Maria, Heinikainen, Sirpa, Pelkola, Kirsti, Raunio-Saarnisto, Mirja
Acta veterinaria scandinavica 2015 v.58 no.1 pp. 49
Clostridium limosum, bacteria, death, edema, endometritis, farms, females, fetus, fibrin, food safety, hemorrhage, histology, microbial growth, mink, necropsy, neutrophils, peritonitis, spring, uterus, whelping, Finland
BACKGROUND: An outbreak of sudden death of pregnant farmed mink in Finland occurred during the busiest whelping period in the spring of 2013. The affected farms were all located in western Finland in a rather narrow geographic area, Ostrobothnia. Dead mink from 22 farms were submitted for laboratory diagnostics to the Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira). The carcasses were necropsied and tissue specimens were prepared for histology. Samples of internal organs and peritoneal fluid were cultured bacteriologically. RESULTS: Major pathological findings included hemorrhagic vaginal discharge, severely inflamed uteri with luminal hemorrhagic exudate and dead fetuses. Dead fetuses were present in the peritoneal cavity and associated severe peritonitis occurring as sequela of uterine rupture were found in most minks. Histological findings included hemorrhages, neutrophil infiltrations, degenerative inflammatory cells, edema, fibrin and rod-shaped bacteria on all layers of the uterine wall. In most samples abundant and pure anaerobic bacterial growth of Clostridium limosum was found. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of C. limosum associated metritis in farmed mink. Disease was only observed in pregnant females and the uterus was the primary site of infection. The source of infection and the route of transmission remained unclear, but feed borne transmission was suspected.